Nutritional labels are not currently listing a dangerous fat in the foods we eat. The culprit is called trans fat, which is different from saturated fat or cholesterol.
On Tuesday's Early Show Dr. Emily Senay explains how to avoid this hidden health threat.
Trans fat, also called stealth or phantom fat, is created during the process called partial hydrogenation, which involves turning liquid vegetable oils to solid shortening.
Partially hydrogenated oils are used to make a wide variety of foods on supermarket shelves including some cookies and snacks. Although some of these foods claim to be low in calories or fat or cholesterol, the numbers are not listed for trans fat, which is just as bad or worse.
Research indicates that in some cases trans fat raises blood cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. Both saturated fat and trans fat raise the amount of LDL or bad cholesterol, but trans fat also lowers the amount of HDL or good cholesterol.
According to Dr. Senay, there is no way to tell exactly how much trans fat is in certain foods because it's usually not on the label.
Only a handful of products voluntarily include the amount, and the FDA is still deciding whether to require labeling. For now the only way to estimate the trans fat content of foods is to do a little math with the information provided on the label.
Take the total fat amount and subtract the total grams of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. The remaining grams amounts to the estimated amount of trans fat.
Be advised that fast food is very high in trans fat. French fries and any other food fried in partially hydrogenated oils are the worst. Also, be aware of food fried in vegetable oil, too, because that oil solidifies when it cools to room temperature and is equally as bad.
It get harder to control trans fats in restaurants. One way is to eat raw food, fruits and vegetables. Avoid all the dressings and toppings that make a dish so
filled with fat.
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