Photo source: bantransfats.com
Be afraid. Be very afraid… Just because a food product boasts “0 Trans Fat” on its label doesn’t mean there’s not actual trans fat in the food itself. This is just one more example of the misleading food labeling requirements issued by the FDA and further proof that you can’t believe everything you read.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition lists this question and answer on its website:
Q: Is it possible for a food product to list the amount of trans fat as 0 g on the Nutrition Facts panel if the ingredient list indicates that it contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil?”
A: Yes. Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g) as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel. As a result, consumers may see a few products that list 0 gram trans fat on the label, while the ingredient list will have “shortening” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on it. This means the food contains very small amounts (less than 0.5 g) of trans fat per serving.
For the record, many scientists consider this “very small amount” to be harmful. Plus, depending on the product and its listed serving size, the “very small amount” might be increased substantially just by using more than “one serving.”
According to supermarketguru.com, “Trans fat is known to increase blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), so-called “bad” cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends that consumers limit trans fat in their diets (no safe daily upper limit has been set).”
Since, by their own admission, we can’t trust FDA food label regulations, we must take extra time to read ingredients in order to completely avoid trans fats. This includes looking for shortening or partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. And remember, the closer to the top these ingredients appear, and the more total fat listed, the more trans fat the product usually has.
Supermarketguru.com recommends shopping for products low in total fat, which means bad fats should be fairly low too. And don’t forget to pay attention to serving size. The fat content may be low for that serving, but do you really eat only that amount? We should all also be aware that products can make claims such as “low saturated fat” and “extra lean” without accounting for trans fat.
For even more information click to the following links:
Campaign to ban partially hydrogenated oils: Click Here
Trans Fat – What is it?: Click Here
Talking about trans fat – what you need to know: Click Here
The Supermarket Guru: Click Here