Most people know that to maintain a healthy diet you should avoid most transfats in food. While transfats occur naturally in dairy products and some meats, the most harmful transfats seem to be those that are artificially made. These are vegetable fats that are hydrogenated by the food industry to make cost effective and tasty products with a longer shelf life. However, these benefits come at a high price: In the past years more and more serious diseases have been linked to transfat consumption. Tens of thousands yearly die of heart disease linked to transfats in the U.S. alone. Transfats have been linked to increased risk of stroke, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and other serious conditions. Clearly, avoiding transfats in your diet as much as possible is important to your health. Let’s take a look at a few ways to cut transfats out of your diet:
Eat Whole Foods
Since artificial transfats do not occur in nature, one way to be sure you will avoid these lethal transfats, is to stick to fresh produce and steer clear of processed foods. Fresh vegetables, fruits and grains are tasty, full of nutrients and completely transfat free. You should take note of the fact that milk and meat of cows and sheep contain small amounts of naturally occurring transfats. But these natural fats are not as detrimental to your health as the artificial ones.
Of course, completely avoiding processed foods is not appealing to everyone. Luckily, processed foods have labels that list their content. You might expect that when you read the labels and make sure the label says the product contains 0% transfat, you are good to go. Sadly though, if you would make this assumption in the U.S., you would be wrong. In the U.S. manufacturers can put 0% transfat on the nutrition labels of food containing up to 0.5% transfats. So, to better your chances of actually avoiding all transfats, you need to look a little closer. You want to avoid all products containing any kind of hydrogenated oils or fats since these are artificial transfats.
Use Healthier Cooking Fats
When you’re health conscious, you’re likely mindful of the fats you use for frying food. However, one way many people add a lot of transfats to their diet is by frying food in unhealthy transfat-rich margarines or shortenings. The best way to cut these transfats out of your diet is to replace these margarines and shortenings with healthier cooking oils like olive oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil or safflower oil.
Vigilance with Risky Food
A final way for you to avoid transfats is to be extra alert when buying foods likely to be rich in transfats. Factory made baked goods, margarines, vegetable shortening, fast food, chips and crackers, breakfast cereal and peanut butter are among the top foods most likely to contain transfats. When you’re out to buy these foods, you should pay a little extra attention to the labels to stay safe.