Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reading Food Labels Carefully

So, let's continue the discussion about reading food labels.  I talked briefly about the salt and sugar content so I'd like to address fats, in particular trans fats, that may be in the food you're considering.  Trans fat is found in a variety of processed foods like vegetable oil or shortening, margarine, crackers, cookies and many snack foods.

What is trans fat? It's a chemical fat formed when manufacturers change a liquid oil into a solid fat. The manufacturer uses a process called hydrogenation to make this new chemical fat.  Manufacturers like to use trans fat because it helps them to reduce their costs of production.  They also use trans fat to increase the shelf life of the food product.

What are the health problems associated with trans fat?  Researchers have found that increased heart disease, diabetes and obesity have all been linked to regular consumption of trans fat.

What can you do to avoid it?  First, take your time when food shopping. Read the food label carefully and look for the words partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening.  If it appears, look for another product that does not have this ingredient listed because it's a healthier choice for you and your loved ones.

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