Low fat, low calorie, sugar free, gluten free, healthy, or low carb?
With all the health food claims out there it’s hard to know what we should be eating. Half of the research will tell you something is good for you, until you turn around to find out the other half tells you its bad. So much information can make your head spin and drive even the most determined person to give up on the desire to eat healthy.
I truly believe that God prescribed the perfect diet for us in the form of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and some animals. But to be realistic it’s a full-time job trying to feed our family in that way. In this series, I will help you to be aware of the most important ingredients to avoid and how to look for them.
If I were to tell you to stay away from any 1 ingredient (and there are so many that I despise), it would have to be trans fats. Trans fats are not only bad, they are down right evil. Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to a vegetable oil to make it solid and increase its shelf life (as if vegetable oil isn’t bad enough on its own?) I haven’t found a single piece of research that will tell you that trans fats are good. None. You won’t find alternative health claims or even quack watch scientists telling you to eat a little more trans fats to live longer. Trans fat consumption has been linked to an increase in coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, increase in LDL (bad cholesterol), a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) and sudden cardiac death (Science Daily.com). Yikes!!
Many packaged foods will make the claim that their products are trans fat free. You can even turn the package over and check out the nutrition label; sure enough it will have a big fat 0 next to trans fats. But, did you know that food companies are allowed to claim a product is trans fat free if it has less than .5g of trans fats per serving? Does anyone ever eat just 1 serving? In reality, you may be gobbling up 1-2g or more of trans fats at a sitting at not even know about it. 2g is where you should be waving your white trans fat surrender flag and give up whatever you’re eating at the moment.
Are you ready to trick the food companies that thought they were tricking you in the first place? Instead of just checking out the nutrition label, glance slightly lower or turn the box over and find the ingredients list. Read carefully, especially if there are one million ingredients (said with my pinky at the corner of my mouth). If you see the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated with ANY type of oil following, back away, put it down, burn it, or turn it into to the CDC immediately. This is the key to knowing if your food has trans fat in it. When you start reading your ingredients list, you will be surprised at the things you once thought were healthy. Unfortunately it’s hard to know which foods contains these evil fats when we are out to eat and away from home. You can be pretty sure that most fried foods and bakery items contain trans fat and it would be a good idea to limit those types of foods unless you are sure they are made with REAL ingredients.
If you find that a lot of your favorite snacks contain hidden trans fats, start by replacing 1 item at a time. Add a serving of fruits or veggies in place of that item until you are able to get rid of all the trans fat containing foods in your house. Your body will thank you.