As the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign kicks into full swing this month (check out Harrisburg’s Go Red feature in this month’s Harrisburg magazine), you can help yourself stay heart healthy by doing one little thing: eliminate trans fat from your diet. You see, unlike other naturally occurring fat in our food sources, trans fat is created by an industrialized process called hydrogenation. Because it isn’t natural our bodies can’t metabolize and process it like a natural fat.
The bad news for most of us is that our primary source of trans fats in our diet comes from foods we don’t normally think of as being that bad for us. Everything from the muffin (no matter how healthy the ingredients sound!) we grab on the run in the morning, to the take-out pizza we bring home when we’re running late, to that 100-calorie bag of microwave popcorn, to the pancake mix we use for our weekend breakfasts.
To help identify trans fats and make smarter choices in the grocery store, scan your labels and look for the words “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. While foods can claim to be trans fat free, if the word “hydrogenated” appears in the ingredient list you can consider it suspect. You can safely (and probably accurately) presume that the “hydrogenated” ingredient has been created stabilize the food it is added to.
For additional information on fat, using fat or eliminating fat from your diet, visit the American Heart Association’s webpage on Fats & Oils.
Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desforback to top