The trans fatty acids (trans fats) were supposed to take a hike. Turns out that’s not totally true.
You see, we just learned, thanks to researchers at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis reporting in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the nasty substance still lurks in some foods.
The good news is that researchers, who examined a sampling of processed snack foods, cookies, butter, and margarines sold at retail giant Wal-Mart in Minneapolis-St. Paul, found that most of them are now free of trans fats, which have been known to raise "bad" LDL cholesterol, which puts you at risk for coronary heart disease, and lowers heart-protective HDL cholesterol.
The bad news is that you can still find the stuff. That’s why the University of Minnesota researchers say something to the effect of "Buyer, beware."
They write that "consumers need to read product labels because the trans-fat content of individual products can vary considerably." (Foods lower in trans and saturated fat also "tend to cost more, which may be a barrier to their purchase for price-conscious consumers," they observe.)
Whenever I read about trans fats, I always wonder:
- Why are people eating so much processed food in the first place?
- Why is everyone focusing on trans fats and not dwelling enough on the perils of sugar? Because even if — as the packages tell us — they don’t have trans fats — they’re still full of sugar and culprit carbs. (Which means, of course, that if you eat too many of them, which most Americans do, you could still go into SUGAR SHOCK!, as my book of the same name reveals.)
Actually, a co-researcher on this study had some fabulous advice: Of course, snack lovers could also pass over processed treats for a more wholesome option, like fruits and vegetables, Lisa J. Harnack, Dr.Ph., R.D. an associate professor at the University of Minnesota and a co-researcher on the study, told Reuters Health.