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Transfats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, are finally getting banned by the Food and Drug Administration.  Well, maybe.  At this point, they plan to ban them in three years.  But, if you are a manufacturer, you can apply for a special exemption.

Say what?

First off, understand this: there is no safe level of transfats when it comes to your food.  Any amount is bad for you.  Eating transfats is directly linked with an increase in heart disease and heart attacks.

So what, exactly, are transfats?  Some occur naturally in food, but most of the transfats we get in our diets are manmade.

Manufacturers make transfats in our food by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil.  Adding hydrogen helps attain certain consistency in food product, so you’ll get the same appearance and taste every time you buy it.  Adding hydrogen also helps increase shelf life. Ever wonder why that loaf of white bread stays fresh for so long?

Foods that are more likely to contain transfats are fried items, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, cakes, cookies, sliced bread, pie crusts, stick margarine, ready-to-use frosting and coffee creamers.  Not only are most of these foods not inherently healthy, they are also loaded with transfats – the double health risk whammy.

The Europeans are ahead of the United States on this as they have acknowledged the risk factors and banned transfats from foods long ago.

It’s unlikely that transfats will be leaving grocer’s shelves anytime soon.  My advice, check all food labels.  If a transfat is listed, it’s probably best to “transition” to another product.

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