Ta-ta to trans

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It’s quite true that trans-fats aren’t good for you. They used to be quite common in processed foods (in the form of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils), and it took a pretty firm boot to get grocery manufacturers to find substitutes.

But now that trans-fat content must appear on nutrition labels, most products have none – or less than 1/2 gram per serving, which can be listed as none. (That explains why some products with zero trans-fats on the nutrition label have hydrogenated oil in their ingredients list). Even all the varieties of Crisco have been reformulated to have less than 1/2 gram of trans-fat per serving.

There are still a few products with a gram or two of trans-fat: Some stick margarines, some cake mixes and frostings, some refrigerated doughs, and a few kinds of cookies and crackers.

In foods you prepare yourself, from scratch, there probably aren’t any trans-fats, unless you use some stick margarines.

Restaurant and take-out food is another whole deal, and – no disrespect to various cities’ efforts to ban trans-fats – the McDonald’s French fry is the battle to be fought in 2007: Will McDonald’s find a substitute frying oil that is just as tasty, when consumed with the other hand on the steering wheel, as the one that now puts 5 grams of trans-fats in a medium order of fries?

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