Fat News

Stamp Out Trans FatsAfter an eleven year battle, the FDA has ordered the food industry to eliminate health-damaging trans fat from the food supply. It is estimated that this move will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7000 deaths from heart disease each year.

I think the number is much higher, but who knows. What’s most important is that this liver-damaging, artery-clogging, weight-enhancing artificial substance has finally been banned. What began with Crisco in the 50’s and continues to be used in coffee creamers, cake frostings, crackers, fried foods, and microwave popcorn, will soon be a thing of the past.

Not soon enough, in my opinion. The FDA has given the food industry 3 years to comply with this new ordinance. I get that policy changes require this sort of absurd leeway to get things done, but there is evidence that food products can be reconstituted on a much shorter timeline. Hopefully, the food industry will expedite the process.

In the meantime, let this national advisory be a warning that we need to stop buying and eating  trans fats immediately! This is easily done by reading the ingredient lists of packaged products and shunning those that include the word “hydrogenated.”   This is less easily done when we go out to eat.
Restaurants can continue to order and receive french friestheir gallon jugs of hydrogenated oils in which much of their food is prepared, and serve them to us without disclosure.

Diners beware! The next three years may be a good time to prioritize home cooking, which is always a better practice, anyway. You have control over the foods you buy, the ingredients in the dishes you prepare, and the quantities of food you eat.

Artificial trans fats, which come from partially hydrogenated oils, have been used for their long shelf life  in packaged, processed foods.

In an interview on this story, Gwen Ifill of PBS news, asked Walter Willett MD, chair of the Department  of Nutrition at Harvard: “”What will manufacturers use to replace Trans Fats?” Dr. Willett said  something like “many vegetable oils could be substituted.” What I wish he had said is that this is an opportunity to question the prominence of processed, packaged foods in our diet. Maybe it’s time to start eating whole, fresh foods.

When you eat fresh, you eat well.

There are no ingredient lists to ponder on locally-grown peaches, organic broccoli, and humanely-raised chickens.


Theodora Wilner, MA, HC, RYT is a Wellness Advisor and  Certified Health Coach. She is currently writing “A Wellness Manifesto; Eat Fat, Seek the Dark, Stride ,and Schmooze.” For more info: wilnerweb.com / theodora@wilnerweb.com

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