All Trans Fats to be Eliminated from U.S. Foods by 2018
In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that companies have three years—by June, 18, 2018—to remove all artificial trans fats from their foods. This is incredible news! Chiropractors and others in the health world have been advocating for this change for years. Trans fats are extremely harmful to our health, and have been in our foods for too long. In their consumer update announcement, the FDA states that, "This step is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year."

Where Did Trans Fat Come From?

Trans fat was the first man-made fat created. A German scientist figured out how to add hydrogen to cottonseed oil (the hydrogenation method), opening the door to a surge in PHOs/trans fats in foods around the world. At the time, the invention was huge; it was inexpensive and it increased shelf life.

Food manufacturers began adding it to everything: cookies, crackers, frozen foods, breads, etc. Food shortages during the Great Depression and World War II increased the use of PHOs—and then the 1980s craze to reduce saturated fats (mmm, margarine, anyone?) sent it over the top.

Artificial Trans-Fat vs. Natural Trans-Fat

There are some naturally occurring trans fats produced in the guts of some animals and found in small quantities in meat and milk products. These fats are also called "trans vaccenic acid," and may actually have positive health benefits, such as lowered cholesterol.

Trans Fats are Not Safe

Even though advocacy groups first began to call for the ban on trans fats in the early 1990s, it wasn't until 2013 that the FDA first made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs are the largest source of industrially produced trans-fat in processed food) were no longer "generally recognized as safe (GRAS)."

Patient Success Stories: Scoliosis

Trans Fats are Not Safe

Even though advocacy groups first began to call for the ban on trans fats in the early 1990s, it wasn't until 2013 that the FDA first made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs are the largest source of industrially produced trans-fat in processed food) were no longer "generally recognized as safe (GRAS)."

PHOs and trans fats have been linked to heart disease for years—and are shown to increase risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes. We know that trans fats build plague in arteries, and newer studies are linking high trans-fat diets to less-obvious issues like memory loss.

Common Foods Containing Trans Fats

You might be surprised to learn some of the popular foods that contain PHOs and trans fats. (Buyer beware: Your product may list 0 grams of trans fat, but if partially hydrogenated oil is listed in the ingredients, there ARE trans fats.) Watch out for these foods:

  • Kellog's Apple Jacks
  • Crisco
  • Margarine
  • Ortega Yellow Corn Taco Shells
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Betty Crocker Frosting
  • Pillsbury Pizza Crust
  • Chex Mix

Get in the habit of checking nutrition labels and ingredients lists. Above all, limit (or eliminate!) the amount of processed foods in your diet. Stick to veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and fruits.