Saturday, January 2, 2010

Trans Fat vs FAT

Fat is generally an unpopular word and way of being. Most people don't want to be fat and if they are they don't need anyone else pointing it out. Trust me they know it and they already don't feel good about it. While searching Google for "fat" pictures I was truly disturbed and it's easy to understand how fat has a bad rap.

CNN reports that there are 40,697 new laws, many which will take effect January 1. One of these has to do with fat... trans fat and limiting it in restaurant food. It was enacted in 2008, and requires restaurants to use oils, margarines and shortenings that have less than half a gram of trans fat per serving. A similar provision will apply to baked goods in 2011.

What is a trans fat? Trans fat comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are more solid than oil is, making them less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

I remember thinking back when that this law was a good thing... I am not saying it is a bad thing, trans fats in general are not good for you, BUT there are small amounts of trans fats that naturally occur in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butter fat. And get this... "it isn’t clear; though, whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured." My guess is they are not the same. If you've read, Sally Fallon's, Nourishing Traditions you'll agree this is sort of hog wash- not to mention another incomplete law. Don't you agree education would be more helpful? I wonder how much time, money and energy goes into laws vs education?
(Zero trans fat does not mean healthy. It just means no trans fat.)

It's easy for marketers to pick on fat. As you can see from the Krispy Kreme ad above, they're advertising their doughnuts as "healthy" or "healthier", because they do not contain trans fats. Bottom line: just because they are not using trans fats- does not mean it is healthy for you.

My mother was all bent out of shape because I didn't have the chance to eat the organic whole milk yogurt when I was there, because she likes to eat the "light yogurt"- ie low or no fat and I can see not wanting it to go to waste, but fat (ie. natural fat) is not bad for you and will not make you fat necessarily.

Which is better for you? Organic whole milk yogurt vs Trans Fat Free Krispy Kreme Doughnut? Get my point? An easy key is if it is from nature and is it not over processed (ie. full of hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, additives, pesticides, etc)- it is hands down healthier than the alternatives. Go eat your organic whole milk yogurt and all.

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