The “No Trans-Fats” Scam

It is well accepted that trans fats are bad for you. Any health-conscious consumer looks for food labels stating “No Trans-Fats”. Well, guess what? Regardless of the claim, there still may be substantial amounts of trans fats in the product. Here is an excerpt from the book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Drs. Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra:


When the government mandated that trans fats be listed on the nutrition facts label of food, big food lobbyists sprang into action. They somehow created a loophole that lets manufacturers use trans fats while legally claiming “no trans fats!” on their packaging. Here’s how:
Manufacturers can claim “no trans fats” as long as there is less than half a gram of the stuff per serving. Sounds reasonable, until you remember how clever and ruthless Big Food can be. By making “serving sizes” ridiculously small, and by keeping trans fats to just under half a gram per “serving,” they were able to technically comply with the rules. But the end result is that if each artificially small “serving” contains, say 0.4 g of trans fats, you could quite easily consume a gram or two of the stuff just by eating what most people would consider a “normal” serving size. Do that a few times a day and before you know it you’ve raised your heart disease risk by quite a few percentage points.
What to do? Simple. Ignore the “no trans fats!” legend on the front of the package and read the ingredients list instead. No matter what the label says, if the list of ingredients contains partially hydrogenated oil or hydrogenated oil, the product has trans fats. Period. (Typically, you’ll see partially hydrogenated soybean oil in the ingredients list, but it could be any type of oil at all. What you’re looking for are the keywords hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated.)

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If you’re thinking that a small amount of trans fats won’t hurt, “research shows that for each 2 percent increase in trans fat calories consumed, the risk for coronary heart disease roughly doubles!” Dr. Sinatra’s recommendation: “The ideal intake for humans is O grams.”!

Sharon Powell

Personal Fitness Trainer of Tucson



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