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Kathleen Zelman: Trans Fats -- Just How Bad Are They?

Get the trans fat facts

More About Trans Fats continued...

Moderator: What is the reaction of the food manufacturers to this new attention to trans fats? Are they denying trans fats are unhealthy?

Zelman: No, and I think that the bigger picture is showing us that food manufacturers are very interested in providing consumers with more healthful options, such as we've seen with the announcement from Kraft Foods and the changes in Frito-Lay snack foods; they're both making more healthful options and smaller portions in their food lines.

Member question: How long do you think it will take manufacturers to change bread and cracker recipes to trans fat-free? I can't bake bread; I need to be able to grab it at the market.

Zelman: The good news is that most bread does not contain fat. Crackers, on the other hand, do contain trans fats; even the reduced-fat brands can still have trans fats. You need to rely on the label and at this point, choosing crackers with the least amount of total fat is your best bet to limit the amount of trans fats.

Member question: A friend is starting her baby out on cereal and one of the ingredients is hydrogenated canola oil. What will this do to the baby? He's already pretty fat.

Zelman: I would suggest looking for a cereal that does not contain partially hydrogenated fat. And they're out there. You just need to become a savvy label reader.

We are presently experiencing an epidemic of obesity in our country, affecting both kids and adults. Whatever we can do to help get kids to eat less of the kinds of foods loaded with trans fats, and encourage them to go outside and play, will stem the tide of this escalating problem.

Moderator: Before we wrap up for today, Kathleen, do you have any final comments for us?

Zelman: One final note: The American Heart Association advises that healthy Americans age 2 and over limit the fat in their diets. In practical terms, if you limit your intake of fats and oils to five to eight teaspoons per day the American Hearth Association indicates that you're not likely to get an excess of trans fats in your diets.

Moderator: We are out of time. Thanks to Kathleen Zelman for sharing her nutrition knowledge with us today. And thank you members for joining in the discussion.

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