5 foods that could become illegal if the FDA moves forward to ban trans fats

"Oh, I think it was an extremely important move towards decreasing heart disease, the number one killer of Americans," said  Jeanine Sponsler, a clinical health educator for St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

Sponsler is talking about the Food and Drug Administration’s move to ban, or at the very least develop strict limits on fake fats -- the primary source of trans fats in our diets.  

Why? Science shows these trans fats pump the body full of artery clogging fat.  According to the FDA commissioner, this reduction would prevent more than 20,000 heart attacks and seven thousand new cases of heart disease each year.

“It’s probably one of the most important moves they could ever make because although trans fatty acids have been declining over the years, we still find them in our foods.”

So if the ban happens -- say good bye to a few of your old friends. First -- fast food.  Trans fats used to be prevalent in most fast food.  

But Jeanine adds, “Some of your larger chains have gotten away from using trans fatty acids.  And what they use it for is frying the foods.  We know frying food isn't good anyway."

Number two:  microwave popcorn. Jeanine says, “It’s not in all air popped popcorn or microwave popcorn, that's why it’s really important for you to read the labels to find out if trans fatty acids are in there.”

Three and four:  frozen desserts and baking mixes. “The reason they use Trans fats is because it increases the shelf life of the food, the texture and sometimes the flavor. 

And finally, margarine.  “Because the way they make margarine is the trans fatty way -- taking vegetable oil that is liquid at room temperature adding hydrogen atoms to make it a solid. So margarine is something you do not want to use.”

But she adds, check the labels, all margarine may not have trans fats. By the way you're looking for partially hydrogenated oils in the label.  

The proposal is open for public comment for 60 days but eventually companies would have to prove scientifically that partially hydrogenated oils are safe to eat, a very high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary.

The institute of medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of artificial trans fats.

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