Unilever, uber food conglomerate, will stop using trans fat in its margarine spreads as soon as next month, according to an article in USA Today. This is great news for consumers, because Unilever is the number one seller of margarine tubs and spreads. It’s top brands are I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Shedd’s Spread Country Crock.
“I call this the death knell for trans fats,” says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University.
The elimination of trans fats from the U.S. diet “should be written up as a business school case and studied,” says Michael Jacobson, director of advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has pushed for it. Trans fats have been reduced more than 70% in three years, he says.
What you need to know:
Trans Fat is just plain EVIL. It has been unequivocally shown to increase the chances of heart disease because it raises the levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, in our bloodstream. This leads to clogged arteries and other precursors of coronary ailments.
Trans fat is mostly man-made, and found in hydrogenated oils. These are vegetable oils that are “bombed” with hydrogen atoms in a process that makes them solid at room temperature.
The FDA has been requiring manufacturers to post product trans fat content on nutrition labels ever since 2006. Since then, lo and behold, trans fat is disappearing at a rapid pace.
Makes you wonder what would happen if the FDA would require labeling of ADDED SUGAR in products.
What to do at the supermarket:
You’re not 100% safe yet. There is still an irritating loophole though, whereby up to half a gram of trans fat can legally be labeled as 0. So in addition to checking the nutrition panel for 0 trans fat, look at the ingredient list to make sure there are no “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils“.
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