by Dr. Keri Chiappino DC, DACNB, BCN
In July 2018, the FDA banned U.S. manufacturers from using artificial trans fatty acids, a.k.a. trans fats, in processed foods to extend shelf life and flavor. The additives were found to elevate bad (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and lower (HDL or high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Although banned, trans fats can still be found in many foods, including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, crackers and stick margarine due to the fact that products manufactured before the July 2018 are still permitted to be distributed until January 2021, per FDA regulations.
A reminder as we approach the holiday season: Be vigilant about reading labels on products you are purchasing for your family feasts. Sweet pastries are cited as the strongest contributor of trans fats, followed by margarine, candies, caramels, chewing gum, and croissants. Labels having “partially hydrogenated” ingredients are a key clue that the product contains trans fats; if opting to make your own desserts, refrain from using vegetable shortening and margarine sticks to help protect your heart, brain and overall health — and your holiday guests’ health, too.