Bottom Ten Trans

We are all aware of foods that have a lot of fat. That's not always bad though. Obviously, we don't want too much of any kind of fat, but unsaturated fats including polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats should actually be a part of most healthy diets. They comprise most of the fat found in extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, nuts and avocado.

Then there are saturated fats – those are pretty bad. Anything that is too cheesy, too creamy, too meaty, too oily, too fatty and often, too crispy, is probably going to have a sizeable amount of saturated fat. There is a recommended daily limit for saturated fat, and it's not high. But I don't think it would harm anyone to be well below that limit.

Then there are trans fatty acids, or trans fats. You've heard me talk about those bad boys before. There is no USDA recommended daily limit for trans fat. That's right – it's zero. The organization so conservative in its food estimates that it recommends nearly twice as much sodium per day as most studies reveal is healthy, recommends absolutely no trans fat. And yet, that fat remains showing up in foods we buy from stores and order from restaurants – be they out in the open (0.5 grams or more per serving) or hidden (under 0.5 grams per serving). Today I'm going to throw out ten trans-fat-laden foods that you may not have known about. I sure didn't before too long ago and am sure glad I do now – so I can NOT buy them and NOT order them and encourage you all to follow suit.

1. Sprinkles

Example: all

Remedy: Use nuts instead – or sugar!

2. Flour tortillas

Example: Nearly every one I’ve seen

Remedy: Hawk the ingredients of different ones you see and use plain corn tortillas in the mean time.

3. Store-bought frosting and icing

Example: all – I’ve looked, just for fun. It saddens me that using this used to be the norm.

Remedy: Make your own! It won’t be healthy but at least it won’t have up to 5 grams of trans fats per serving.

4. Hot cocoa mix powder

Example: Swiss Miss and most others

Remedy: Traditional Nesquik powder

5. Hard shells for tacos

Example: Ortega Hard Taco Shells (Yellow or White)

Remedy: Use corn tortillas and harden them yourself in the oven or even by frying in your own oil.

6. Crackers

Example: Saltines, Ritz

Remedy: Kashi TLC (Tasty Little Crackers)

7. Microwave popcorn

Example: Orville Redenbacher’s

Remedy: Smart Balance Microwave Popcorn

8. Peanut butter

Example: Jif

Remedy: Any Natural PB – just peanuts and salt

9. Any ice cream with chunks of cookie dough or brownie, even low fat versions

Example: Blue Bunny’s no sugar, reduced fat Bunny Tracks

Remedy: Blue Bunny’s no sugar, reduced fat cherry vanilla

10. Whipped toppings

Example: Even “fat free” ones like Cool Whip

Remedy: Good old Reddi Whip

Dishonorable Mentions: Girl Scout Cookies, Fortune Cookies, Muffins (even bran muffins), Fig Newtons

Remember, look at the ingredients to get the real story. If you see “partially hydrogenated,” “hydrogenated” or “shortening” there IS some sort of trans fat in there, potentially being hidden from you and others in the nutrition facts.

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