Sunday, December 23, 2012

Avoid This Item, and You'll Likely Add Years to Your Life

nutrition / trans fat panelThere is an item that has been created to help foods last longer on the shelf.  That sounds like a great plan, except for that this seemingly money saving short cut, is likely cutting short your life span.

I am talking about trans fats.  These seemingly harmless little words are reeking havoc on the bodies of millions of people as we speak. Trans fats are oil that has been mixed with hydrogen, this in turn gives it a longer shelf life.  Trans fats are naturally occur in a small amount in meat and dairy, however hydrogenated oil is the artificial version of it.

The hydrogenated oil, or trans fats, are bad for us because they raise the levels of bad cholesterol and lower the level of good cholesterol in our blood.  This can be a major factor in heart disease, which killed one out of every four people who died last year.

To avoid trans fats we have to find them first...

The Top 5 Places Trans Fats are Found:

1.  Margarine and butter spreads, including shortening.

Opt instead for real butter, preferably from a grass fed cow.

Snacks2.  Premade boxed items:  cake mix, pancake mix, crackers, bread, snack pies, brownies, potato chips.

Look for versions that say "trans fat free", like Bisquick's Heart Healthy pancake mix, or simply make your own version from scratch, which usually only takes a few more minutes any how.

the cheapest lunch
3.  Ramen Noodles, soup cups, canned soups.  
Look for versions that say "trans fat free", are made fresh, or make your own.

Restaurant Breakfast Pancakes4.  Fast foods:   
Fast food is loaded with trans fat. Any fried foods you get from these restaurants, like french fries, chicken nuggets, fried chicken or desserts are likely to be cooked in hydrogenated oils, which means trans fat overload.
Foods that are not fried could also contain trans fat, such as pancakes and biscuits, because of butter-like products used to flavor them. If a restaurant claims they do not use hydrogenated oils, it doesn't mean your food is tans fat free. Foods can be prepared at the factory with trans fats, including being pre-cooked in hydrogenated oils before they arrive at the restaurant.  (source)

Try a restaurant like Chipotle or Subway, pack a meal, or eat at home.

Italian Pizza
5. Frozen foods:  Chicken pot pie, waffles, pizzas, fish sticks, pies. 

Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie has 4 grams of trans fats per serving! (source)

Find versions that say "trans fat free", is fresh like Papa Murphy's, or make your own from scratch. 

Most health food stores shouldn't buy food with trans fats in them, and I know that Trader Joe's has a no trans fats policy for their store.  That type of environment can make shopping less stressful when trying to eat healthy.

The good news is that it is soooo easy to eat healthy!  Eating healthy is all about what I call "Simple Substitutions".  That means taking a food and finding a healthy version of it.  Pizza, waffles, donuts, etc. can all be made with ingredients that leave them tasting amazing and are healthy!!!  That's my favorite part.  :)  Enjoy!

Feel free to ask me any questions about what you could substitute or do differently.  :)


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