For decades trans fat has been a common ingredient in processed snacks and fast food. Although trans fats do occasionally occur in nature, most are manufactured through a process known as hydrogenation. Hydrogenation changes a liquid fat into a solid fat. This improves shelf life, making the fat more useful to food manufacturers.
Unfortunately, research has shown that a steady intake of trans fat is bad for health. Not only do trans fats drive up inflammation, they also clog arteries and leave a person more likely to develop heart disease over time. The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 1% of our calories come from trans fat. Other organizations are more stringent and suggest having as little as possible as there is no known safe amount.
Last year Health Canada banned trans fat from the food supply. Although it’s now illegal for food manufacturers to add trans fats to products, retailers were given a two year grace period to clear inventory from their shelves. Because of this, it’s still important to check labels for trans fat. Common food sources include packaged cookies, crackers, pastries, and muffins. You might also find trans fat lurking in shortening, margarine, peanut butters, powdered coffee beverages, and coffee creamers.
Two Tips to Avoid Trans Fat:
1. Reduce your intake of pre-packaged and processed foods.
2. Avoid products that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil and shortening as ingredients.