What trans fats are lurking in your pantry?

Written by Community Bariatric Services on 11/8/2013 12:24:00 PM

The FDA announced on November 7 that all foods should be cooked WITHOUT trans fats and that keeping trans fats to 0 grams per day will improve the heart health of the nation. That’s big news because when you sit down at many restaurants and are served bread or rolls, the chef may have used trans fats or purchased ready-to-bake rolls and biscuits with trans fats. The oils they use to cook the foods may have trans fat. If they are using olive oil or canola oil, they don’t. You just don’t know.

Part of the lap band journey is making changes in the way you eat and looking closer at better food choices. Identifying lower fat food items is a start. Trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils that help preserve foods. But to achieve ZERO trans fat, look at the label and you’ll find the words partially hydrogenated oil (or hydrogenized oils or fully hydrogenated oil). At the grocery store, trans fats are in processed foods - often in the baking aisle of boxed mixes - and the frozen food section.

What's lurking in the pantry?

Are trans fats lurking in your pantry or fridge?I decided to clean out my pantry, refrigerator and freezer this morning after the new reports about trans fat. I wanted to see if any trans fats were lurking. I looked for the words HYDROGENATED or HYDROGENIZED OIL. Many food manufacturers have already made the switch, but I found them in my Jiffy peanut butter, but not my almond butter, in my bread crumbs, some but not all frostings (often the generic brands), peanut butter baking chips, gravy mixes, Jiffy cornbread mix, those generic 2-min. French bread pizzas, pizza pockets, hot cocoa mix, toaster strudels, ready-bake rolls, barbecue sauce, and the cinnamon rolls I just bought from a school fundraiser, as well as the buttered popcorn from the Boy Scouts’ sale.

All of these food items had the word hydrogenated or hydrogenized oil listed as part of the ingredients, but many claimed 0% trans fats on the callout box citing nutritional information.

How can that be?

Tricky wording on food labels

Artificial trans fats are formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats in a process called hydrogenation, which increases a food's shelf life. In the body, trans fats (partially hydrogenated oil) funnel themselves to our body’s arteries and for some that results in heart disease. Trans fats raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol. The FDA said in their announcement that while Americans are eating fewer trans fats today than 5 and 10 years ago, getting to ZERO trans fats a day would prevent more than 20,000 heart attacks and more than 7,000 new cases of heart disease each year. That’s important if you have a medical history for heart disease and stroke in your family.

Nutrition experts say there are several reasons why foods containing hydrogenated oils may be labeled "trans-fat free," or list 0 grams trans fats on the label.

  1. If the food ingredients identifies partially hydrogenated oils (but contain less than 0.5g of trans fats per serving) the government currently considers that to be trans-fat free. For example, commercial peanut butter may contain less than 1 gram of partially hydrogenated oil to prevent separation. The problem with this definition is, how often do we eat more than the stated serving size? So the grams of fat add up.
  2. Food items containing fully hydrogenated oils are labeled as trans-fat free because this the process of making the liquid fat to a solid was done fully, not partially, so ALMOST no trans fats remain. However, full hydrogenation does increase the amount of saturated fat. Overall, fully hydrogenated fats are less harmful than partially hydrogenated fats.
  3. Just because a food item says it’s trans-fat-free doesn't mean it is low fat. One tablespoon of trans-fat free shortening contains 110 calories, 12g of fat, 3g of which is saturated. Hence the claim, "cholesterol-free."
  4. Beware: If the food label lists "hydrogenated oil," without specifically identifying the words “partially” or “fully” hydrogenated, it may not be trans-fat free. Sometimes the terms "hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" are used interchangeably on food labels.

Looking for hidden trans fats is like an I SPY game.

Fast food

It’s really hard to know if your sandwich contains trans fats. Currently one of the biggest offenders is Popeye’s breakfast hashbrowns with 10 grams of fat. Long John Silver's announced plans in August to switch to trans fat-free cooking oil by the end of this year because their clam strips have 7 trans fat grams per serving. Avoid deep fried foods.

What’s in your fridge?

Margarine is thought to be the healthier choice? Right? Some, but not all, brands of stick margarine contain trans fat. The Walmart brand has 3 grams per serving. I checked my refrigerator and my soft-serve Country Crock and Imperial stick margarine did not have trans fats.

What's in your pantry?

Now move to your pantry and check the labels. Several food manufacturers have removed trans fats from their recipes, but buttered microwave popcorn is another issue: Pop Secret Premium Butter Popcorn – 5 trans fats; Jolly Time Blast o Butter Popcorn – 4 trans fats. So did my Boy Scout Buttered popcorn. Next time I’ll just make a donation.

Frozen desserts

Cakes and pies have trans fats that help with the baking of that dessert or improve the texture of the frosting once thawed. While many food items are now free of these fats, read the labels. The cr?me pies and cheesecakes are culprits.

Baking mixes

A boxed mix for a graham cracker pie crust or a container of ready-made frosting may have trans fats. When I checked, the Betty Crocker brand of frosting did not, but lesser known brands did. I usually have frosting around for cupcake treats for the kids’ events, but now I will read the labels closer.

Peanut butter

Not sure what to do about peanut butter. It says fully hydrogenized. I’m sure there is a brand that has eliminated all trans fats. I might need to stir it before I scoop and spread and make PB sandwiches for lunches and follow the recommended serving size. While I am a label reader, my husband and girls may not be. So I want to have the heart healthiest foods at their fingertips. This little exercise took 15 minutes and now I am a lot wiser.

If you are already on the Lap-Band journey, you have most likely cleaned out your pantry. For those on supervised weight loss before surgery, consider doing this activity. See what’s in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. You might be surprised!

Learn more about bariatric surgery

Find a weight loss surgery location

Categories


Tags

2012 Olympic Games 5-2-1-0 rule 500 Festival Mini Marathon accredited bariatric surgery center acid reflux disease active lifestyle activity ADHD adolescent obesity adult obesity Affordable Care Act African American obesity rates allergies American consumption American obesity rates Android ankle weights antioxidants anxiety app appetite apple picking apples Arawella Arby's arch artificial sweetener ASMBS asparagus aspartame at home Atkins diet avocado bacteria baking balance bariatric bloggers bariatric medicine bariatric surgery bariatric surgery guidelines bariatric surgery presentation barley beans behavior change behavior modification belly fat benefits big belly Big idea Biggest Loser biking biotin blogging blood pressure BMI body fat bodyweight Bodyzone bone density bone health bone mass bone metabolism book review boot camp boredom eating brain breakfast breast cancer breast lift breastfeeding breath test bullying burn calories burn fat caffeine calcium calorie counter calorie tracker CalorieCount.com calories cancer-related biomarkers Candy cardiovascular Caroline Manzo carrots CDC celebrity Center of Excellence cereals challenge change chemical markers chia seed chicken chickpeas childhood obesity Childhood Obesity Task Force children Chinese obesity rates chocolate Chris Christie Cinco de Mayo cinnamon citrus CNN.com Coca-Cola color wheel colorectal cancer Community Hospital Anderson comorbidities Conner Prairie conservation constipation consumption cooking core strength CPAP crab decision grid dehydration diabetes diabetes prevention diabetes remission diet diet fads diet plan diet tracker dietary guidelines dieting dietitian digestion digital weight scale dining out DNA dopamine Dr. Oz drinks dust mites DVDs e-mail management Eagle Creek Park eat eating eating out eating slowly eating triggers ECO 2013 efficient eggs emotional eating employee wellness programs ENDO 2013 Endocrine Practice endometrial cancer energy energy drinks environments estrogen European obesity rates exercise exercise ball exercise program exercise tips exercising fad diets fall festivals family family support farmer's markets fast food fat gene FDA guidelines feelings fertility fiber Fitness fitness in men flexibility food food addiction food cravings food database food journal food label food safety food statistics food substitutes food triggers foods foot support football Fort Harrison free bariatric surgery class freezer meals frozen dinner frozen food frozen meal fruit fruits FTO gene fundraiser future gallstones gardening Gary Taubes gastric bypass gastric sleeve gender and weight gain genetics gestational diabetes ghrelin Girls on the Run glycemic control goal setting goals goals for weight loss gout grapefruit Great American Backyard Campout Great Outdoors America Week Great Outdoors Month green beans grilled bananas grilled watermelon grilling grilling tips grocery shopping growth hormone habit change habits hair loss after bariatric surgery hair loss causes Halloween hamburger hand weights health health claims health coach healthier healthy healthy choices healthy cooking healthy desserts healthy diet healthy fats healthy food healthy living healthy side dishes healthy spices healthy summer drinks healthy tips heart attack heart disease heart failure heart monitor heart surgery risk heartburn herbal tea herbs hiatal hernia high blood pressure high cholesterol high-fructose corn syrup holiday holiday eating holidays Holliday Park hormones hunger hungry immune boosting foods improve improve yourself incentives incontinence Indiana Indiana arthritis Indiana obesity rate Indiana parks Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Cultural Trail Indianapolis events Indianapolis top ten Indianapolis Woman indoors IndyStyle infographic insulin resistance insurance intuitive eating iodine sensitivity IOM Taskforce iPhone iron JAMA jobs and obesity jogging joint pain joint replacement journaling jumping jacks Kevin Trudeau KFC kidney disease kidney injury kids kids and diets knee pain lap band lap band adjustment lap band case study lap band class lap band diet lap band insurance lap band mortality lap band slippage lap band surgery Lap Band Talk lap band vs gastric bypass lapband diet Lauren Manzo Let's Move lettuce life expectancy lifestyle change liquids LiveStrong.com local produce lorcaserin low calorie thanksgiving dinner low-calorie low-carb low-carb diet low-fat cooking lycopene macaroni salad Managing time mandarin chicken marinade MBSAQIP McDonald's meal planning meals Medicare medications Medicine Matters Mediterranean diet memory menopause metabolic diseases metabolic health metabolically healthy obese metabolism Mexican obesity rates Michelle Obama Military Park milk mindful eating Mini marathon MMP2 gene Monon Trail motivation move muffin frittatas muscle mushrooms MyFitness Pal National Garden Month National Institutes of Health National Nutrition Month National Obesity Evaluation Plan National Obesity Week National Weight Control Registry natural energy boost nature Nature Rocks negative calories New Year resolutions New Year's New Year's resolutions new years resolution New York New York Jets NFL nicotine Noblesville non-scale victories nutrient-dense foods nutrition Nutrition Council nutrition information obesity obesity advocacy obesity and cancer obesity and dementia obesity and family obesity and genetics obesity as a disease obesity battle obesity education obesity guidelines obesity in children obesity in women obesity model obesity policy Obesity Society obesity statistics obesity support obesity truths oranges orchard osteoarthritis outdoors Outlook 2010 overeating overweight physicians pancreatic cancer patients PCOS peas pease powder pedometer pesto phone physical activity physical inactivity phytonutrients picnic Pinterest pizza plan plan ahead plastic surgery plateau plateus poll pollen polycystic ovary syndrome portable exercise equipment portion control portions positive attitude post-menopausal potassium powdered peanut butter pre-diabetes pre-menopausal pregnancy and obesity prepare preparing for surgery preventing weight regain after bariatric surgery procastination produce productive productivity productivity tips protein psychological evaluation pumpkin qsymia quality of life quick meal quotes RA raspberries Real Housewives of New Jersey recipe remember research resistance stretch bands resolutions restaurant restaurant menus return to work reverse memory loss Rex Ryan rheumatoid arthritis rhGH risks routine roux en y running running routines running shoes salad salad bar salad toppings salads salmon Sandra Fryhofer school lunch sedentary self talk self-assessment Setting goals shellfish allergy shopping tips shrimp siblings simple calory burners sitting sleep sleep apnea SMART goals smartphones smoking snacking snacks soda ban soda consumption sodium soft drinks solid food Sparkpeople SparkRecipes.com spinach salad spring Stephen Covey stomach stopwatch strategies strawberries strength strength training stress stress eating stress relief stress-free stroke study substitutions Subway success successful weight loss sugar sugar addiction sugar detox sugary drinks summer summer activities super bowl super foods supplements support groups surgery sweet potatoes sweet tooth swimming Taco Bell tailgate tea television test yourself tips tips to prevent grazing to do list tomatoes tongue patch training for a marathon trans fats travel traveling after lap band surgery tricks trigger foods trust tummy tuck turkey breast turmeric Type 2 diabetes tyrosine tyrosine diet UI ultrasound unintentional hair loss Up Amigos project urinary stress incontinence uterine cancer vacation foods Valentine's Day variety vegetables veterans Veterans Memorial Plaza video vital signs vitamin b12 vitamin D vitamins Walk from Obesity 2012 walking walking shoes walnuts water water aerobics watermelon weekend weight gain weight weight gain weight lifting weight loss weight loss and memory weight loss apps weight loss counseling weight loss drug weight loss goals weight loss program weight loss surgery cost weight loss tips weight loss workshop wellness Wendy's White River State Park willpower Windows Phone WISH-TV women women and obesity women's health work work and obesity workers comp working out workout workout shoes workouts wristband trackers YMCA yo-yo dieting Your Weight Matters zinc zucchini