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More About Trans Fats continued...

Zelman: Actually, the best option is to use skim milk. The reality is, most people don't want skim milk in their coffee, although you might want to try strong coffee with warm skim milk, it's delicious. But regarding your question, choose the lowest-fat option that you prefer.

Moderator: Meaning even the lower-fat version with trans fats is better.

Member question: Trans fats are completely man-made, then? So they are only going to be in processed foods. Is that right?

Zelman: No, that's incorrect. Animal products have small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats that act differently than man-made trans fatty acids. The correlation between trans fats and heart disease is related specifically to the trans fats from vegetable oils. The labeling law will exclude those small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. They "act differently," which means they're not linked to heart disease

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.

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