We’ve heard the health message: Avoid trans fat
However, a study published in 2013 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease revealed that while some US products and food manufacturers have made progress in reducing trans fats, substantial variation exists by food type. Even though packaged foods may list “0 grams trans fat” on their Nutrition Facts label, many still have partially hydrogenated oil (the main dietary source of trans fat) in the ingredient list. Current laws allow companies to “round down,” so if a food has fewer than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving they can round down to zero. While it may sound like a tiny amount, if you eat more than one serving, or if it’s a food you eat regularly, it can have a major negative impact on your health. “We eat a lot of packaged foods,” says Dawn Napoli, RD, a registered dietitian with UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health in Orlando, FL. “Over time that can make a huge difference.”
The good news? The amount of trans fat we eat has dropped in the past 30 years, according to a study published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Men are consuming 32 percent less trans fat, and women 35 percent less, than they were in 1980. Still, 1.9 percent of men’s daily calories and 1.7 percent of women’s daily calories come from trans fat today; the American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fats to no more than 1 percent of total calories consumed. Even small amounts of trans fats can harm health: for every 2 percent of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23 percent, according to research published by Harvard Health Publishing. Read on for seven foods that are packing trans fat—even if the food label makes it hard to tell. And watch out for these subtle signs that you’re eating too much bad fat.
Nondairy Coffee Creamer
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Half a gram of trans fat in creamer can quickly multiply, as consumers tend to use more than the standard serving size of a teaspoon per cup and the typical American coffee drinker guzzles an average of three cups of joe per day. The giveaway: On many “0 trans fat” labels, partially hydrogenated oils is the second or third ingredient listed. Many people are giving up on coffee creamer, in favor of these surprising add-ins.