To keep it simple, trans fats are mostly fats that don’t occur naturally. Though some trans fats can be found in animals, most trans fats are made during food processing through partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. These manmade fats are responsible for billions of dollars in heart disease treatments, obesity, and other diseases in our nation ever year. Getting rid of these fats could lead to a whopping 20,000 fewer heart attacks annually.
Trans fats show up in donuts, microwave popcorn, margarine, cookies such as Oreos, fast food French fries, ‘healthy’ packaged foods in the grocery store, and numerous other foods that we eat. The FDA looks to be starting a crack down on trans fats, though, by all but banning them, in recent news.
“While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
“We want to do it in a way that doesn’t unduly disrupt markets,” said Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods (and supporter of Monsanto). Still, he says, the food “industry has demonstrated that it is, by and large, feasible to do.”
To phase them out, the FDA said it had made a preliminary determination that trans fats no longer fall in the agency’s “generally recognized as safe” category. Now, any company wanting to use trans fats would have to petition the FDA, and would more than likely lose.
There is no concrete deadline for companies just yet. The FDA is still collecting ‘comments’ to discern how quickly to phase Trans Fats out of our food supply.
In the meantime, you can avoid junk food and dine on health-boosting fats found in nuts, seeds, and other foods like avocados. Eat fats that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables: like coconut oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, non-contaminated fish oils (make sure they are mercury and cesium free), olive oil, hemp oil, and more. Many of these oils or healthy fats are credited with boosting brain power, lowering heart disease, and keeping us from aging too quickly.
Though the move is one toward better health, the question many are asking is if a government ban is really the right way to have people stop consuming this harmful substance.