Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital specializing in the benefits of healthy food sources of fat, offers the following tips to help avoid products with trans fats:
- Cross-reference the nutrition label with the list of ingredients. Even if the nutrition label states “zero grams trans fats” beware that the food could still contain trans fats. The government allows manufacturers to claim zero grams if their products contain less than a half-gram of trans fat per serving. Check the ingredients and if the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil” are listed, trans fats are present in the product. If a product has absolutely no trans fats, it will say “no trans fats.”
- Trans fats can often be found in foods that have a long shelf life—even those that you may not think of as unhealthy—so be sure to always check the label. To avoid snacking on trans fats unknowingly, pass up processed foods for fruits, vegetables or nuts.
- Avoid fast food restaurants. Most of the food served is very high in trans fatty acids, keeping deep fried foods crunchy and allowing a long shelf life for many items. If you must go, be sure to read the in-store nutrition brochures or visit the restaurant’s website before ordering.
- You can use olive oil in most recipes that call for liquid oils, like brownies, quick breads and many cookies and bars. It helps keep baked goods moist, but lowers your trans fat intake.