Trans fat travesty

17 Apr
Yesterday we had grilled-cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Michael had suggested burritos, but after reading the nutrition label and seeing that there were trans fats in them, I decided to make something a little healthier.  (Since, trans fats are supposed to be the absolute worst of the worst fats; bad, bad, bad for you.) 
 
I used whole-wheat sunflower and flax bread, real cheese, and a scraping of butter in the non-stick pan.  Not low-fat, I know, but at least they were natural ingredients.  After lunch, as I was putting the cheese away, I was horrified to see that there were trans fats in the cheese!  And the butter!  And also in the plain yogurt I’m always giving Jade.  And goodness knows what else.  It was rather upsetting, after turning my nose up at the burritos.  The thing is, I want to protect Jade from food-related nasties for as long as possible.
 
So today I did a search on trans fats and found out more about them.  I had always thought that they were the result of "partial hydrogenation", where liquid oils are made into semi-solid fats like shortening and hard margarine.  In fact this is the case, but I didn’t know that trans fats actually occur naturally in some animal-based foods, particularly ones from ruminants like cows and sheep.  However, the naturally-occurring trans fats are at fairly low levels compared to foods made with partially-hydrogenated oil.
 
This all made me feel a little bit better; I won’t totally freak out when I see that there are trans fats in the cheese and the yogurt, but I’ll keep in mind that this is another reason to have dairy foods in moderation.
 
But, good gracious, what a minefield is the field of nutrition!
 
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Links to more information (from Health Canada):

  • Trans Fat – It’s Your Health – one of a series of short, easy-to-read factsheets.
  • Fact Sheet on Trans Fat – a few questions and answers on trans fat.
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