You have probably heard that trans fats are not healthy, or maybe you noticed the label on a bag of potato chips or cheese curls that says “No Trans Fats.” But did you know that partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that Americans take trans fats completely out of their diets. Trans fats can cause heart disease, diabetes, and are considered unhealthy. By avoiding partially hydrogenated oils, you will eliminate trans fats from your diet.
Use Caution at Restaurants
Restaurant foods can be some of the worst culprits that add trans fats to your diet. Well-known restaurants like McDonald’s have changed the oil used for an order of fries that once had 8 grams of trans fat, but now have 0 grams of trans fat, according to their Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items online listing in October of 2013. The problem with eating at a variety of restaurants is that you often have no idea of what type of fats and oils are used to prepare foods.
You can replace partially hydrogenated oils in your diet by taking a few minutes to check online nutrition information for many national chain restaurants. Some of the restaurants that list the amount of partially hydrogenated oil in each menu item are Chipolte, Taco Bell, Chick Fil A, Subway and Burger King. Technological advancements have forced these restaurants to replace trans fats in many of their foods with healthier fats because customers can easily log onto a website to see the nutritional content of their foods.
Always Read the Label
The most effective way to ensure that you and your family are not eating trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils is by doing the same thing you would do if someone in your family had a food allergy: by reading the label. People with food allergies need to read every food label to make sure that there are no allergens present in the food. To avoid unhealthy trans fats at home, read labels that are on foods before eating them.
Check all oil bottles before buying cooking oil because partially hydrogenated oil can be in vegetable oils, soybean oils, canola oils and corn oils. Also check the food labels on boxes of crackers, cookies and baked goods. You should check all processed food labels, including frozen foods that often use partially hydrogenated oil. The labels can be tricky because trans fat content is not always listed, but if the label says “partially hydrogenated oil” as one of the ingredients, then do not buy it. Replace these foods with other brands that do not contain this oil, or substitute it with a different food.