Friday, April 6, 2007

Trans Fat

Trans Fat has been a buzzword in the last few words, but what exactly is it, and what is it in?

Trans Fat occurs naturally, in small amounts, in some animal-based foods like meats. But the majority of Trans Fat in the American diet is from engineered Trans Fat that is a by-product of the process of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil (usually soybean oil) to give it a longer shelf-life and to add flavor-stability to the food its in.

Trans Fat raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) which increases your risk of coronary heart disease. This is health risk from long-term consumption of Trans Fat. The cheeseburger and fries we pick up because we are tired, starving and late, may unfortunately affect the rest of our lives.

When shopping, read the labels and avoid anything that says "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated".

Things Trans Fat is in:
-- Shortening
-- Margarine *even if it says Trans-fat-free, check the label! Why eat plastic food when you can eat butter from a cow that God made :)
-- Cool Whip. This is basically whipped shortening with sugar. (yuck!)
-- Dry Cake/muffin mixes. All of the basic brand names.
-- Bisquick (but not the Low-Fat variety!)
-- 99% of every item at any Fast Food restaraunt.
(even a plain chicken breast at Jack-in-the-Box is cooked in shortening. why?!?!?!)
-- Solid Sprinkles (vs. the colored sugar-crystaly type)
-- Bullion cubes. This one shocked and disgusted me.
-- Any ice cream that has chocolate or candy pieces in it. Trans Fat makes them stay crunchy.
-- Coffemate Creamer. Think about it - its a liquid milk product that doesnt require refrigeration! (I love it too, I know, I know, its painful to learn!)
-- Refrigerated Cookie Dough
-- Refrigerated canned biscuits. These should be avoided at all costs. Nasty, nasty.
-- Tortillas. Like Mission tortillas - they cook them in shortening.
-- Frozen Tater tots, French Fries, etc.
-- Fruit Loops
-- Graham Crackers (see my previous post)
-- Some packaged popcorn
-- Nearly any frozen food like Hot Pockets
-- Some mix packets like taco seasoning, stew seasoning, etc.
-- Store-bought Bread Crumbs

--Ever eaten something that coated your tongue with a film? thats trans fat! Think of what its doing to your arteries! LOL

Healthier Alternatives:

-- Whip your own fresh whipped cream or buy it in the bottle instead of the tub.
-- Use milk or cream in your coffee instead of creamer
-- Sweet Potato Fries (Steve LOVES these!)
-- Pop popcorn the old-fashioned way, in a pot on the stove!
-- Costco carries some great, uncooked tortillas you heat up yourself. They are SO much better than the pre-packed type although they are made with white flour. But they taste like what you get fresh at Mexican restaraunts.
-- Make cakes from scratch or buy organic mixes which dont have trans fat or soy
-- Spectrum makes an organic, non-hydrogenated shortening made from palm oil I believe. I got mine at Kroger.
-- Make your own taco seasoning. I use paprika, chili powder and cumin.
-- Make whole-wheat cookies from scratch. I hava no-sugar recipe Ill post someday.
-- Dont eat fast food!

No one is perfect. I eat at fast food restaraunts sometimes myself. I usually order a grilled chicken sandwhich instead of fried (breading has soy) and I really work hard to exercise the will-power to not get french fries, onion rings, etc. If I was really good Id get a salad but no thanks ;) And I still never get a soda ;) My children never eat fast food (now that we know about their allergies, they did before) and can barely eat at any restaraunts because nearly every single thing on the menu has soy. yuck.

Having children allergic to soy has really taught me a lot. I was SO shocked by how many things have soy in them and thats how I learned about Trans Fat since its usually made out of soy. There are only two certain types of breads sold in the supermarket that dont have soy oil and only one with no soy at all - and it tastes like dirt IMO (but the boys like it). Goldfish, wheat thin, etc. they all have soy oil.

More on my intense hatred of soy on another day ;) As hard as it is having children with allergies, Im actually kind of glad because it really motivates me to be strict and keep their diet healthy.

Cutting out trans fat is an EASY way to greatly improve your health. If you cut out:

Trans Fat
Artificial colors

then you'll automatically cut out a great deal of the unhealthy food sold in grocery stores today. And more and more healthy (or at least healthier) options are available every time I go to the store. Cut out, or at least cut back on, white flour and you'll be even better off.



Kelli in the Mirror said...

This is so overwhelming. What do you eat at your house? And really, I don't mean that to sound snarky at all. It's an actual question, not a criticism.

Reading labels and putting almost everything back on the shelves at the store is depressing. I don't have time to cook from scratch every day and I'm trying to just work on one thing at a time and cut out the biggest evil.

Grands just came out with a reduced fat biscuit with no trans fat. Made me happy. I love those nasty canned biscuits and now I can buy them again. :)

chewymama said...

kelli - I replied in a new post :)

Loni said...

I am far from perfect, but a good policy is to avoid the grocery aisles. Buy the stuff around the perimeter of the store...fruits, veggies, dairy, meats, etc.

chewymama said...

Loni - thats a great tip. It definitely cuts back on the junk!