Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the optimum goal for trans fat intake is as low as possible. Much research has linked trans fats to the risk of heart disease. But a Harvard study published in January concluded that trans fats are also strongly linked to infertility.
Researchers followed over 18,000 married women with no infertility history for 8 years while continuing to assess both their diets, and attempts to get pregnant. The researchers found that total fat and cholesterol intakes were not linked to infertility. But, infertility risk jumped by a whopping 73% with each 2% increase in trans fat.
Fortunately, some things have changed since these women were being studied in the 90s. Today, packaged foods must list the grams of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts panel, and more and more manufacturers are removing trans fat from foods. But, technically, a product can claim to provide zero grams of trans fat if it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving. To avoid them altogether, check the ingredient list. Trans fats are created through a process called partial hydrogenation. So if the words partially hydrogenated appear, bingo!
Cookie, cracker and chip makers are starting to exterminate trans fat, but on the whole, fast food establishments and bakeries still have a ways to go. Here are the trans fat grams in some popular products (as of today anyway!):
-1 Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Coconut Cake Donut – 5 grams
-1 Krispy Kreme Apple Fritter – 7 grams
-Taco Bell Nachos BellGrande – 7 grams
-McDonalds large French Fries – 8 grams
-Sonic large Onion Rings – 8 grams
Oh and one last note. The words “trans fat free” don’t necessarily indicate that a food is healthy. It could still be low in nutrients and fiber, high in refined sugar, and even high in saturated fat! What's your take on trans fat? Please share your comments.
Photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute