By: Saira Malhotra
The conversation around fat is certainly a confusing one. In our life time, we have been told: fats make us fat, fats are good, fats cause cardio vascular disease, there are different types of fat, some are good and some are bad (they also say the same for cholesterol). Being ping-ponged in this discussion, we can finally enjoy some solid clarity. There are essential fatty acids required by our body to function well, particularly in the area of metabolism. And there are the not so friendly fats, known as Trans-Fats. Trans-fats, once believed to be a healthier alternative to animal fats, have become the culprit for increasing the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.
Health authorities have recommended that trans-fat consumption should be lowered to trace amounts and as a result many food manufacturers have adapted accordingly. However, this week, the Times Of India reminded us that we too have a part to play. As consumers, it is important to make conscious food choices and to know where else these trans-fats are present. Here is a list of 10 foods with Trans-fats to avoid:
French Fries: When hydrogen meets vegetable oil, the outcome is ‘trans-fat’. French fries are often fried in hydrogenated oil and account for a high trans-fat content.
Margarine: Once considered to be the healthier alternative, most margarines are considered to be high in trans-fat. In order to keep this vegetable oil-based product firm, the services of hydrogenated oil is called upon. Healthier alternatives are fat-free spread or whipped butter with a light application.
Fried Chicken: If fried in a restaurant, ask if the oil it is fried in is hydrogenated. Often it is. If the fried chicken is sold in the freezer section of your grocery store, it is less likely to contain hydrogenated oil.
Non-dairy creamers: Contain a small amount of trans-fat. While the amount may seem negligible, if you routinely make your coffee with it, the numbers will creep up.
Microwave popcorn: This healthy snack turns unhealthy if made in the microwave. The buttery toppings account for 5 grams of trans-fat per serving.
Frozen dinners: Often loaded with trans-fat, after all, the food is not self-stabilizing and the fatty mouth feel has to come from somewhere.
Pie and crust: It is safe to assume that all pie crusts contain trans-fats unless otherwise stated. Be sure to check the ingredient list and seek out healthier alternatives.
Ice cream: High in calories and in trans-fat. Be particularly weary of the ice cream sold in high volume chain restaurants.
Creamy beverages: A step up from ice cream’s trans-fat’s content level, but still contains trans-fats nonetheless. Expect to find this fat lurking in your hot chocolate and creamy shakes.
Potato chips: The biggest whammy of all! Potato chips are very high in trans-fat and while some claim to be partially hydrogenated, the packet labels are dicey and the odds are that there will be more trans-fat than you may be aware of.
Photo: Cascadian Farm
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