Stealth Fat Lurks in Favorite Foods
Many 'Healthy Foods' Full of Unlabeled Trans Fats
Here's Consumer Reports' advice on how to look out for trans fat:
- Read the list of ingredients. If you see "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening" near the top, you can bet on a lot of trans fat. If this is near the bottom of the list, however, the amount of trans fat may be small.
- Suspect trans fat in margarines and shortenings; deep-fried fast and snack foods; and commercial baked goods such as pies, cookies, and crackers.
- Don't be fooled by serving size. A small amount of trans fat in a tiny serving becomes a lot of trans fat in a normal serving. For example, most popcorn "serving sizes" are only a cupful. That's far less than the big bowls most people gobble.
- Do label math. A few products list saturated, monosaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. If they don't add up to the total fats, the missing number is probably trans fat.
- Products low in total fat likely are low in trans fat.
- Beware of products that claim to have "low saturated fat" or "extra lean." They may still have lots of trans fat.
- Labels that say "saturated fat free" have less than 0.5 grams of trans fat and less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.
- Look for soft or liquid margarines instead of hard margarines.