As of June 18, 2018, trans fat has been banned in the U.S. This followed the Federal Drug Administration's determination in 2015 that trans fat was unsafe for consumption, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You may be worried about the trans fat in your body and its long-term effects. The sooner you learn to spot trans fat and stop eating foods with trans fat in them, the sooner your body will rid itself of the dangerous substance.
Trans Fat Foods
Aside from the small amount still in use as a result of the limited extension, foods are no longer being produced with trans fat, and restaurants are prohibited from using it. Harvard University nutrition professor Walter Willett told the Washington Post in June 2018 that the amount of trans fat still in use is negligible, and it's safe to say that industrial trans fat has been removed from production in the United States food supply.
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However, the FDA is allowing those foods produced prior to the trans fat ban to proceed through distribution. That means you may still find trans fat in the following foods:
- Packaged baked goods
- Cake frosting
- Microwaveable popcorn
- Chips and other packaged fried foods
- Frozen pizza
- Cream-filled candies
- Coffee creamer
Some naturally-occurring trans fats are found in meat and dairy, although Harvard Medical School reports that these types of trans fat are not as bad for your health.
Read more: Why Is Hydrogenated Oil Bad for You?
Finding Trans Fat
You can look at the nutrition label under "fats" to see if the food contains trans fat, but you may not get the whole story. According to WebMD, manufacturers are allowed to list a product as having 0 grams of trans fat if it contains less than half a gram.
Your best bet is to look at the ingredients label to see if the product contains partially hydrogenated oils. PHOs are the main source of trans fat in foods. Although it may come near the very end of the list, meaning the product contains a minimal amount, it's still a source of trans fat and should be avoided.
Trans Fat in Your Body
Your body processes trans fat slightly differently than it does other fats. According to naturopath Dr. Stephen Gangemi, it takes your body longer to metabolize trans fat than it does other fats. That means that there may still be trans fat in your body.
Unfortunately, there's no way to speed up your body's natural processing and detoxification systems. And a so-called "detoxification diet" won't work either. A healthy adult's body does a perfectly good job of getting rid of toxins, and there's no scientific research to support the claim that detox diets are effective, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Steer Clear of Trans Fat
Highly-processed foods with long expiration dates could still be on the market or in people's homes for several years. Check your own home for products with trans fat and toss any foods containing the substance.
You can help your body do its job by eating healthy, whole foods that are rich in nutrients. Some foods to focus on include dark, leafy greens, blueberries, blackberries, raw nuts and seeds, lean protein and fish and whole grains.
Limit your intake of meat and dairy, both to avoid trans fat and to limit your intake of saturated fat, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
Read more: Is Vegetable Shortening a Trans Fat?
- American Heart Association: Trans Fats
- FDA: Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat)
- Cleveland Clinic: The Real Scoop on Trans Fats
- The Washington Post: Artificial Trans Fats, Widely Linked to Heart Disease, Are Officially Banned
- Cleveland Clinic: Avoid These 10 Foods Full of Trans Fats
- Harvard Medical School: “Natural” Trans Fat Less Harmful Than Artificial Version
- WebMD: Reading the Ingredient Label: What to Look For
- DrGangemi.com: Hydrogenated Fat Dangers
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”