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Bravo Unilever: No More Hydrogenated Oils!

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In a very big move, Unilever, which sells more soft margarine than anyone else, will be removing all hydrogenated oils from all of it's soft spreads by early 2010. The brands are I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, Shedd’s Spread Country Crock®, Brummel & Brown®, Promise®, Promise activ®, and Imperial®. What does this mean? That the spreads will have only 0.05 grams of trans fat per serving, and this very minute amount is found naturally in the vegetable oil.

Even though these soft spreads were able to say "trans fat free" and "0 grams trans fat" before, the FDA allows any product with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat to use this term. Even if a product has 0.45 grams trans fat they could say "trans fat free." Now these soft spreads really will be as close to zero (0.05) as possible for a spread made from oil.

Soft spreads are made with a blend of nutritious vegetable oils including soybean and canola, and contain 70% less saturated fat than butter, have no cholesterol, and are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with many providing excellent sources of Omega-3 ALA. All Unilever soft (tub) spreads have 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving, and with this formulation change, will contain no hydrogenated oils and no trans fat per serving.

When choosing a soft spread, the FDA advises consumers, "When comparing foods, look at the Nutrition Facts panel, and choose the food with the lower amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol."

These soft spreads were significantly reduced in trans fat 3 years ago, but some consumers and health professionals thought that even using small amounts of hydrogenated oil was not good. Once this new reformulation is implemented in a few months, it will significantly reduce the trans fat found in our food supply even more. BRAVO Unilever!

For more information, check out this website, www.bigfattruth.org
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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