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what are trans fats?

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trans fat labeling

learn how to read labels for trans fats

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trans fats in unexpected places

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Trans fats in unexpected places

As more information about the danger of trans fat in our food becomes known, people are discovering trans fats in surprising places. Certainly most people have heard that most vegetable shortening and margarine are filled with trans fat, However, did you know that even a McDonalds milkshake has trans fat?

Here are some of the most surprising foods that contain trans fat. While some of the quantities are small, keep them in mind when you calculate your total intake of trans fat each day. In addition, ask fast food restaurants for a printout of their foods' nutrition information and read the labels for trans fat levels on all your packaged foods. 

McDonald's Milk Shake: According to the McDonald's web site (Sept 2005), a McDonald's Milk Shake trans fat content is .5 grams for a small (12 ounce) chocolate shake. A larger 21 ounce chocolate shake has a full gram of trans fat, 11 grams of unhealthy saturated fat and a whopping 18 total grams of fat. This size packs 770 calories into its cup, a pretty hefty total for most people..

Cake mix: Packaged cake mixes almost always contain trans fat. While the amounts vary (from low enough to be billed as 0 trans fat on the label) to several grams, cake mixes and frostings are a major source of trans fat. Check the label for partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening and watch the trans fat content as soon as the labels are all FDA compliant.

Ramen noodles: Quite a few of the popular brands of instant ramen noodles contain trans fat. Check the labels on your ramen as well as packaged soups for unexpected amounts. Soup does NOT need to contain trans fat and neither does pasta.

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets: You may love the crispy bits of fried chicken that McDonald's bills  as McNuggets, but be advised that a package with just 4 of these little bits contains a gram of trans fat and 2 grams of saturated fat. With a total of 10 fat grams and 170 calories, this is definitely a better choice than the McDonald's Milk Shake.

Hostess Twinkies: Hostess has not yet implemented labels to list their trans fat contents in compliance with the new FDA fat label laws (they have until Jan 2006), but Twinkies definitely contain a combination of trans fats and saturated fats. The Twinkies ingredient list says: "(Contains One Or More Of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean, Cottonseed Or Canola Oil, Beef Fat)" and each Twinkie has a total of 5 fat grams.

Doughnuts: Yes, doughnuts (and donuts too!) almost always have trans fat as well as saturated fat. The Krispy Kreme and Winchells web sites do not list trans fat content for their doughnuts, but the FDA site estimates 5 grams of fat are in an average doughnut. One glazed Dunkin' Donut has 4 grams of trans fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. That can add up to artery clogging action really quickly..

Frozen pie: Frozen pies that you heat at home are not usually free of trans fat. For example, Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie contains 4 grams of trans fat in every serving slice.

Find good trans fat free foods.

 

   
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