7 Foods That Won’t Be the Same If Trans Fats Are Banned

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On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is moving toward significantly limiting–more or less banning–trans fats from foods in the U.S.

The agency decided that trans fats are not safe for human health, and shouldn’t be in foods we eat. So what are they? Trans fats are a byproduct of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). By bubbling hydrogen gas through oil under certain conditions, manufactures can turn liquid oils into whatever saturation or thickness that they desire. Such partially hydrogenated oils have become popular because they give foods taste and texture, and in the 1950s, trans fats emerged as a way to increase the shelf life for processed foods such as baked goods.

However, they have also been linked to major health problems such as coronary heart disease, since trans fats build up plaque in the arteries that can contribute to a heart attack. In 1999, the FDA first proposed that manufacturers disclose the amount of trans fat on nutrition labels but that did not become a requirement until 2006.

Now, after reviewing studies on trans fats, the FDA issued a Federal Register notice, which is preliminarily determination that PHOs are no longer “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). The public, include scientists and other experts in nutrition and health, have 60 days to comment on the FDA’s conclusion, and if after that time the agency still deems that trans fats are unsafe, manufacturers would need to get FDA approval to use PHOs and trans fats in their products. Foods that contain unapproved food additives cannot legally be sold, and therefore are banned.

This is welcome news and if anything overdue,” says Dr. David Katz, Dr. David Katz, the director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and author of the new book Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well. “The writing on the wall has been there for a long time. I don’t think businesses will be surprised or there will be much push back. Frankly, most shoppers want to avoid trans fat.”

Many companies have already rid their foods of trans fats, and New York City even banned trans fat from restaurant food in 2006.

But, according to the FDA, there are still foods that rely on trans fats, and here are some predictions from industry experts about how these foods will change:

1. Doughnuts: Without trans fats, they may become more oily. Many desserts, like cookies, cakes and doughnuts rely on trans fats to give them a lighter texture. “Only partially hydrogenated oils continue to stay a part of the matrix and don’t exude out of the food,” says Kantha Shelke, a food scientist at Corvus Blue LLC and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

2. Crackers: Trans fats may be replaced by soy bean oil or canola oil.

3. Movie Theater and Microwaveable Popcorn: Popcorn commonly has trans fats, and according to Kristin Kirkpatrick, a wellness manager and registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, we will probably more actual butter may replace the trans fats to maintain that popcorn flavor.

4. Frozen Pizza: Any frozen food with many ingredients can contain trans fats, and some easy swaps could include vegetable oils, but some experts worry about what other additives might be added to achieve the same food preserving features that trans fats had. “We don’t want other additives to make these last longer. Do we really want something in our food that can stay in our pantry for three years?” says Kirkpatrick.

5. Coffee Creamers: Anytime there is cream in a product, you can thank trans fats. “We will probably see more soy bean oil or even some vegetables oils used,” says  Kirkpatrick. Some brands, like MimicCreme, achieve their thickness with finely lacerated cashews and almonds.

6. Refrigerated Dough Products: “We will probably see canola oil increase more because we know it has some benefits, and it can be very stable in these products,” says Kirkpatrick, of ready-to-bake biscuits and cinnamon rolls.

7. Canned Frosting: The trans fats may be substituted with lard or vegetable oils.

Even with the FDA’s conclusion that trans fats are no longer recognized as safe, it doesn’t necessarily mean all PHOs will be gone for good. It’s still possible for a company to petition the FDA to prove that a specific use of PHO is safe, under the “reasonable certainty of no harm” FDA safety standard, but this would be quite difficult to prove — and make it harder for companies to justify their use.

What worries some health experts is what the food industry will come up with to replace the trans fats. “That question is the potential devil in the details,” says Dr. Katz. “There are other ways to manipulate fat, and we have to be careful we don’t wind up with another bad invention.”

159 comments
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MikelRyanson
MikelRyanson

This took a along time but it's good. However the FDA and Gov still don't care about all the unhealthy and lethal chemicals in food and still don't care about GMO. Other countries have banned these things and here it took decades just to ban most trans fat. FDA owned by GMO companies or execs and gov is lobbied by them that's why their will never be even any labeling of GMO. This was probably down for appearance I mean reality is a lot of products already removed this. However it's still a great thing

DanielCiancia
DanielCiancia

@MarkDavies No. Lard is a saturated fat, which was replaced by trans fats when people decided the fat that people had been using for thousands of years was bad. Which they now think is OK again. In limited amounts. Maybe...probably. 

www.bulksmsbase.com
www.bulksmsbase.com

Good research work seriously going on here. What a discovery. This must be encouraged and supported. Thank you for the good work.

SallyBethEdelstein
SallyBethEdelstein

This may be the last holiday season for flaky pie crusts and melt in your mouth pastries made with shortening the king of hydrogenated oils. If the FDA has their say- trans fats will be forever banned from American diets. What will Christmas be without Crisco? Apparently a lot heart healthy but not so long ago trans fats like Crisco  were seen as healthy alternatives to other cooking fats. A heartfelt tribute to the wonders of Crisco http://wp.me/p2qifI-1U4

 

LeeAnneGuryn
LeeAnneGuryn

@SallyBethEdelstein I just checked the Crisco website, I decorate cakes and use Crisco and butter in my frosting.  They do not have trans fats in their shortening. 

WhoIsOutThere
WhoIsOutThere

Many of these products (donuts even) have phased out trans fat, and I think they still taste good.  Industry experts must mean mass produced focused experts :)

These products do not require trans fats to taste good, and honestly if they did and they had them I wouldn't eat them.

I agree with the FDA and it's  decision… trans fats are poison.

LadyinLA
LadyinLA

The person who wrote this article must be under 35.  The premise is flat wrong.  Baked goods do just fine without partially hydrogenated trans fats.  Back in the day, these foods were made with things like palm kernel oil and coconut oil -- saturated fats that we now know are healthy because they are "medium chain" saturated fats, and hence do good things for our bodies that "long chain" saturated fats don't.  However, because they were saturated fats, the powers that be thought  hydrogenating a poly- or mono-unsaturated fat was healthier -- at least that's what they told us.  Hello, margarine.  Trans fats are so bad for you that butter is better.  It's taken us all this time to realize we were wrong ... So let's go back to the old ways.  And by the way, Paul Newman's food company Newman's Own, makes a delicious version of the Oreo Cookie using only healthy saturated fats.  No shelf life issue there.

pigbitinmad
pigbitinmad

Replacing trans fat with Soy Bean oil is probably just as bad. (Soybean products are NOT healthy)  The only way to avoid this stuff is to stop eating processed junk.  It's gotten to the point where if it is made by a Fortune 500 company, I won't buy it.

jonfraer
jonfraer

@pigbitinmad Nishi must have  stock in fortune 500 companies like soybeans. evil  greed over health and lives

MimiB
MimiB

Most people believe the government should be protecting us from harm when we can't protect themselves… and ensuring safe food and processed dietary products falls into this category.  

No one is assuming that all food is good for them, but they'd like to believe at least it won't kill them if eaten in moderation. That's not true of trans fats… this ingredient can kill. It's proven and known. What we don't know is how much you can eat safely. Some people over indulge and may eat a lot of it. All the government is proposing is to ban this ingredient because it's dangerous. The foods it's in are not banned. We will still be able to eat doughnuts and pizza… just not doughnuts and pizza with trans fats. 

As for popcorn… try it with a mix of half melted real butter and half olive oil. Butter in moderation and especially when cut with olive oil or canola oil, is considerably healthier than trans fat laden substitutes and the taste? Fantastic. Try it. 

mdouglas231
mdouglas231

@MimiB Sorry you evidently worship at the alter of government.   OMG, how did generations of Amercans even survive from 1776 onward without an FDA?   "This ingredient can kill.  It's proven and known".    Sorry, but taking some trans fats ain't exactly like sipping arsenic, now is it?   THAT is a proven fact.    As for a slow accumulation over a lifetime, there happen to be lots of things that do the same.   Did you know that numerous medical studies have shown that flouride, such as found in our water supply and toothpaste, builds up in the brain (along with numerous other toxins and heavy metals) and leads to deterioration and ultimate death from Alzheimers, Parkinson's and ALS?   But ban flouride?  Heck, the federal and state governments have been pushing it's use in our water since the 1950s.   Given time and space, I could point out lots of similar items that are not being considered for banning by the FDA.   But the point is that once the govt starts interfering with personal choice, we're on that "slippery slope" to tyranny.    I would heartily recommend every American stay away from trans fats for their health.    But that approach puts the decision where it belongs -- on the individual free American citizen.   Not on an oppressive, all-encompassing (and unconstitutional) Federal authority.

mdouglas231
mdouglas231

@LadyinLA@mdouglas231@MimiB Yes, in 1776 creating a new government when the old one (Great Britain) had become overbearing.   Now we're right back where we started -- with an overreaching, overtaxing, meddlesome government that acts like a nanny to everyone.   As for your claim of "choice is effectively taken away because the alternative is not readily available,"  I have no idea what you mean -- there are plenty of choices open to every American.  And your statement that "everything has trans fats" is both factually incorrect and, even if true, would only highlight the absurdity of any attempt by the government to ban it.   No one HAS to eat trans fats if they choose not to.  The FDA has already required labeling of food contents, including posting in fast food restaurants.  Everyone can make the healthy choice, if THEY so choose to.  Along with individual liberty goes individual responsibility.   And that is the heart of the argument -- that here in America, the individual takes responsibility for his actions -- not the "collective" not the government.   In urging the government to use it's power to "protect the individual", you forget Ben Franklin's admonition "Those who seek a little security at the price of their liberty deserve neither".   How many in Germany in the 1930s bought into the lie that only government action could save them from the supposed "evils" that faced them.... until it was too late to escape.  BTW, I'm not "anti-government" but "pro Constitutional government" -- meaning I support government action as long as it's condoned by our great Constitution.   When government action falls outside the scope of their authority as delegated by the Constitution, I'm vehemently against it. 

LadyinLA
LadyinLA

@mdouglas231 @MimiB Actually I'm pleasantly surprised to see this ban.  Because everything has trans fats in it.  Yes, freedom is about personal choice, but when that choice is effectively taken away because the alternative is not readily available, it's time for a higher authority to step in.  You know, anti-government folks forget that 1776 was not about destroying government, it was about creating a new kind of government that would respect and protect the individual regardless of status, not just the wealthy or royalty.  This FDA ban is one of the great examples of what democracy does best.  You're welcome.

standingon2fingers
standingon2fingers

"Popcorn commonly has trans fats, and according to Kristin Kirkpatrick, a wellness manager and registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, we will probably more actual butter may replace the trans fats to maintain that popcorn flavor."

We will probably more actual....

leimeisei
leimeisei

It's none of the government's damn business what I eat. I am 21 years old and perfectly healthy, and I eat a great diet and I'm in the gym every day, but every once in a great while when I'm in a jam I wanna go home and have a good frozen pizza or something. A little tiny bit every now and then doesn't hurt. The FDA can promptly go f--k itself.

mdouglas231
mdouglas231

@#libtardedamerica @leimeisei   Yeah, you can "chill out" while the govt keeps slipping the shackles of slavery around your ankles.  This is a perfect example of "Creeping Socialism" and unless it's stopped, we will eventually slid into a "soft" tyranny.   Make no mistake about it.   A govt that can tell it's people what they can and cannot eat is a govt with far too much power -- and far more than was ever granted by the US Constitution.  Leimeisei is right in venting his anger at the FDA -- every freedom-loving American should be doing the same.  I've already emailed my Congressman and Senators demanding they introduce legislation blocking the FDA from implementing this ban, which apparently will be the only way to force those jack-booted Gestapo at FDA under heel.    I do not intend to "make do" with substitutes just because my un-Constitutional Federal govt determines I must.   Nor will I "make do" with less liberty.    While you may regard banning trans-fats as a minor thing, hardly worthy of protest, many of us regard it as another step towards dictatorship (and a preview of "things to come" under Obamacare, when every restriction can be excused away on the basis of it's effects on our national healthcare system).    Dictatorship?  Soft tyranny?   "Nah, it can't happen here...."   Doubtless many folks said the same thing at one time or another in Russia, Germany, China, Cuba, Cambodia, etc etc etc (ad nauseum, ad infinitum). 

WhoIsOutThere
WhoIsOutThere

@leimeisei When your food starts poisoning the crap out of you and killing thousands more than it already does (because many people think like you do), you won't be such a happy 21 year old.

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@leimeisei  

chill out dude, they're not taking away your frozen pizza, it'll just be different. it's called reading comprehension. give it a try sometime, it makes life a lot easier