Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky

HealthDay News has an informative review on Trans Fat labeling. The bottom line? Trans fat is always unhealthy, since no amount of the artery-clogging artificial fat is good for you. But, it may be hard to get that from food labels.

My Take?

This story reviews a new study which suggests that the Nutrition Facts panel found on the side of grocery store products does a poor job of getting that message across to consumers.

The researchers found that the average health-conscious consumer is often misled by trans fat information found on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The main problem is that because no amount of trans fat is good for you, it makes no sense to post a percentage of the “recommended daily value” — as is done with other ingredients such as sugar, or total or saturated fats. 

So consumers are just left with a number — such as 2, 3 or 4 grams of trans fat per serving — and no way of interpreting how unhealthy that might be.

In reality, the American Heart Association states that anything over 2 grams per day of trans fat is definitely bad for you — and it’s preferred that your intake stay at zero.

The average consumer doesn’t know this, but now you do!

And, don’t forget that a product can have no trans fat but still be very high in unhealthy saturated fats or sugars.

And, with the exception of New York City, finding out how much trans fat is in a take-out or sit-down restaurant meal can be even tougher. 

According to a 2006 study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a typical three-piece combo meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken contains a whopping 15 grams of trans fat.

However, starting tomorrow, diners in New York City will have an easier time avoiding trans fats in restaurants when health officials there are banning trans fats from all menu items in the nation’s largest city. 

A similar ban will go into effect in Philadelphia in September.

 

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