Trans-fats seem to have taken over the American diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish are in direct competition with processed, trans-fat filled foods that are easy to prepare and tasty to eat. Trans-fats are responsible for a good amount of weight gain as well as other challenges such as slowing down the immune system, diabetes, heart disease and taxing the digestive tract. Although many trans-fats can be detected by simply looking at certain foods, like donuts and cakes, there are many other choices that contain this processed fat.
Colorful, cartoon-laden cereal boxes are your first sign of the probability that trans-fats lurk inside. Some brand name cereals from companies such as Kellogg, Post and General Mills that contain trans-fats are:
- Fruit Loops
- Cocoa Pebbles
- Fruity Pebbles
- Corn Pops
- Honey Smacks
- Waffle Crisp
- Oreo O’s
- Rice Crispy Treats Cereal
- Basic 4
These innocent little squares and circles that your mom may have spread peanut butter on (also trans-fat heavy) are on the list. The most popular, Nabisco Premium, Ritz and Keebler’s Zesta Saltines are at the forefront. Be sure and check the ingredients before you set out your crackers and cheese. In addition, another childhood staple is in the cross hairs: Animal Crackers.
You may want to think twice before your next movie popcorn purchase. Not only is this entertainment staple loaded with buttery, oily trans-fats, but the way most theaters prepare their popcorn is usually an unclean, fat inducing recipe for disaster. Many shelf brands are just as bad, with some containing up to six grams per serving. Watch out for Pop Secret, Herr’s and Frito-Lay.
4. Fig Newtons
Sorry if you thought these little treats containing figs were good for you, but Nabisco’s brand is trans-fat guilty. Choose Nabisco’s Fat Free Fig Newtons or Fig Newman’s by Newman’s Own for a totally trans-fat free snack.
5. Fortune Cookies
You may get a fun fact and titillating fortune at the end of your Chinese restaurant visit, but beware of these little rolled triangles. They contain trans-fats. Fortune cookies are one of the more fattening foods to consume, so stick to the fresh cut pineapples and oranges they often serve afterward.
Trans Fat Facts:
- Food companies are allowed to advertise zero trans-fats if the ingredients contain 0.5 grams or less per serving. Most people, however, do not eat only one serving. Be sure and scan the ingredient label even if it says zero trans-fats on the front of the package. Remember, you will be looking for the words: partially hydrogenated oil, fractionated and hydrogenated.
- The American Heart Association recommends it is safe for you to eat a little less than 2 grams of trans-fats per day. Most people consume this amount by eating meat and dairy, which contain naturally occurring trans-fats. Added, synthetically manufactured trans-fats should be avoided.
- The FDA reports that the average American consumes 5.8 grams of trans-fats per day.
- Many companies are responding to public demand by reducing and/or eliminating trans-fats from their products, including McDonald’s and Smuckers (the makers of Crisco).