Say good-bye to trans fat
Trans fat is starting its three-year farewell forever tour.
That’s good news for your heart.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally announced recently that it was removing trans fat from its "generally recognized as safe'' list, and companies would need to reformulate products within three years or go through a process to prove they shouldn't have to.
Consumers today are more aware of the scientific link between trans fat and heart disease.
Trans fat is created by taking a liquid, plant-based fat and adding hydrogen at high temperatures to create a solid fat which will be stable and won't turn rancid. It also can improve texture and taste, and was popular in baked goods, snacks and frozen foods.
The FDA has required labeling trans fats since 2006, and customers have generally shied away from using them, though there was an exception from the labeling requirements for products with less than one-half gram of trans fat. Some meat and dairy products also have a small amount of naturally occurring trans fat.
Replacement options include plant oils that were modified to be more stable or that have antioxidants added. Other companies are using animal fats like lard and butter instead, though the saturated fats in those products aren't good for the heart either.
People will have to continue to keep an eye on their fat intake, even when trans fat is off the food shelf forever. Health experts say fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein and should not make up more than 30 percent of a person's daily calorie intake.
In the war on fat intake, this new FDA announcement is good news.