You weren't able to tune into our Trans Fats: Moving off the Menu webcast on Tuesday, February 11? No Worries - we’ve got you covered with a doggy bag’s worth of highlights from our expert panel that included Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, CSSD; Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN; Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD, LD; and Jenna Seymour, PhD.
During the webcast, panel moderator Carolyn O’Neil shared that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will extend the comment period on trans fats to March. This means there will be more time for comments and will allow an extended period for those who manufacture food for grocery stores and restaurants to identify acceptable trans fats substitutes. Joy Dubost made the important distinction between man-made and natural trans fats, noting that the FDA ruling only includes man-made trans fats. Until the time of ruling, it will be up to consumers to continue practicing trans fat awareness by reading nutrition and ingredient labels. We’re sure you’ve already mastered this task, but remember that food labeling laws currently allow food products containing less than 0.5 grams per serving of trans fat to be labeled as 0 grams trans fat.
In light of this labeling squishiness, it’s important to also check the label for partially hydrogenated oil ingredients. Presence of such type of ingredients is a tipoff that the food in question may actually contain trans fat, despite having a 0 grams trans fat label. Another way to decrease unintentional consumption of trans fats is to watch portion and serving sizes. For example, eating more than one serving of flaky crackers or multiple pieces of delicious pie with trans fat in the crust, may mean you are consuming more trans fat than you thought. Jennifer Seymour pointed out people who enjoy multiple cups of coffee with flavored creamer also might be sipping more than a serving of trans fat with each extra glug of creamer added.
For home-bakers looking for trans fat substitutes, Toby Amidor offered listeners some fun and unexpected substitutes for fats and oils. She suggesting subbing in peanut butter or avocado for a healthy and flavorful twist on conventional mono and saturated fats.
Overall, consuming trans fats in moderation will not be harmful to overall health. As with most nutrition advice, it’s always important to consider portion and serving sizes. In the words of our moderator and nutrition consultant Carolyn O’Neil, the more you know, the more you can eat. But, don’t just take our advice. Hear it directly from our trans fats experts.