Trans fat...how do you avoid it?

perennialfan275

I've been trying very hard to be healthy this year, but one thing I've been having trouble avoiding is trans fat. If you eat any king of processed food whatsoever there's a very high chance it contains trans fat. Even if the nutrition label says there are 0 grams of it I've learned that's not completely true. What I've learned is that if there is less than 0.5 grams of it, companies are allowed to say that there's "0 grams" on the label. Also, hydrogenated oil (fully or partially) is just a fancy way of saying trans fat (guess I can't have peanut butter anymore...). I feel like I'm torturing myself every time I walk down the isles at the food store. There's so many things that I love the taste of (because I've been eating them for years), but I know they're bad and should be avoided at all costs. Anyways, how do you avoid this stuff? I feel like unless I go vegetarian/vegan this year it feels like it's almost impossible.

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wildchild2x2

I don't. I feel the banning of trans-fats was unnecessary. They were not banned because they were proven to do harm at a certain level. They were banned because a level of safety was unknown. That is why baked goods no longer have the right mouth feel and flavor. That is why donuts and pastries go stale in one day. It's why crackers seem stale out of the box. That is why all you can't have have really good non greasy buttercreme on wedding cakes that is stable. That is why they have gone to playdough decorating with fondant.


Moderation is the key to healthy diet. Fear of entire food groups is not reasonable. It is actually listed as a separate eating disorder now, Orthorexia.

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Bookwoman

There's so many things that I love the taste of (because I've been eating them for years), but I know they're bad and should be avoided at all costs.

Can you give us some examples? Then we might be able to give you some good substitutes. For example, if you love peanut butter, get the kind that's simply ground peanuts, without additives. In general, shop only the outer parts of the supermarket where the fresh food is, not the middle aisles where all the processed foods live.

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eld6161

I agree with Wild.

What exactly is your goal? I find portion control is the way to go for me.

I am a WW lifetime member. I don’t really know what program they are doing because I have stuck to what I started with 29 years ago.

Unless you have a major medical issue, basic healthly eating should be enough.

You should be able to eat everything, just not as much as you want. Being mindful of what a potion is, is key. You can have those chips, just not the whole bag. Yes to ice cream, but measure out the scoop.

I am against artificial sweeteners, even those they claim are natural.

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amylou321

You really can't. Its not feasible to most people who live normal lives, so there is no use cutting out all of your favorite things because of it.

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Elmer J Fudd

Avoid processed food. And avoid many national brands that persist using such ingredients. It's easy and really not a big deal to do.

Some well known products of long standing may have versions with no high fructose corn syrup and say so on their labels. An example is Heinz Ketchup. The regular version has high fructose corn syrup but the organic version is made with sugar instead. Sugar, what a concept!

Another easy way is to choose your stores carefully. At places like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, there's less need to read labels, they don't permit products with ingredients that people want to avoid.

People who try to eat only healthy food lead very normal lives. And, likely, longer ones.

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Bluebell66

Agree with Elmer. Avoid processed food. It’s actually not that hard. We have a tiny pantry cupboard because we buy almost no processed food. It’s a bit more work, but does give us the ability to avoid trans fats and other things we don’t wish to eat.

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wildchild2x2

eld6161 I'm another WW lifetime member. I stick to the early (mid 80's) balanced food plan. When they went to the dark side over promoting boxed meals and fat and fiber nonsense, they lost me.

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OklaMoni

Avoid processed food is easy... if you choose to do so. I have almost no packages, or cans to recycle... because, I don't buy things in either... well, almost none.

Once you make the decision to eat healthy, you just hang out in the outer part of the grocery store. :)

Reading labels is a good place to start. Researching recipes to make some of the food one can buy packaged/canned, you will find, it is totally do-able.

Moni

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Bookwoman

Right now the crackers in my pantry are Trader Joe's oyster crackers (we like them in soup) which use canola oil, TJ Everything crackers, which use sunflower oil, and Triscuits, which have only three ingredients (wheat, canola oil, and salt). None of them taste "stale out of the box." wildchild, maybe you need to try some different crackers?

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schoolhouse_gwagain

What are examples of processed food? Like my frozen Stouffers Mac/Cheese I always keep on hand?

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tvq1

It definitely can be done--but it takes a real commitment. My husband and I started eating whole food plant based in mid February. Since February 12th I have logged every bite of food I've put in my mouth using the My Fitness Pal app. Although I haven't focused on trans fat intake, out of curiosity I just printed a report of my nutrients for the last 90 days. Trans fats consumed?: absolutely ZERO! I was surprised! But we sure haven't had ANY processed foods! I'd be lying if I said I don't miss some of our old junk food. The upside: 60 lbs lost!

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Elmer J Fudd

"They were banned because a level of safety was unknown. That is why baked goods no longer have the right mouth feel and flavor."

Complete nonsense. The danger is well known and understood and the recommendation is that no amount is safe to eat.

Transfats were developed mostly for longer shelf and use life. A modern "creation" by food chemists. Foods made with unadulterated oils for decades and decades (centuries?) weren't deficient in flavor or texture, nor are foods made now with safer ingredients. The best restaurant, the best bakeries, and even more ordinary ones that are conscientious, use scratch ingredients and make delicious products without transfats.

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Elmer J Fudd

"What are examples of processed food? Like my frozen Stouffers Mac/Cheese I always keep on hand?"

Any food that has one or more ingredients that sound more likely to be in a chemistry lab than in a food item. Or an ingredient you've never heard of that doesn't sound like food. Or a long list of ingredients. Or the word "hydrogenated".

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Toby

The easiest thing to do is to stop snacking, where most of the fats are. If you're hungry between meals, eat a piece of your favorite fruit. It's not hard to establish that habit while summer fruits are in season. Or have a few nuts. You can still have a dessert after dinner. I have ice cream or sorbet every evening. I have no control when it comes to potato chips or cheesy snack foods so I only buy one bag a month. It lasts about three days.

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Elmer J Fudd

Fats are essential to eat for good nutrition. Some fats are more healthful than others and should be emphacized, some are not healthy to eat at all. That information is easily found. The dietary problem with fats is that they're very calorie dense, even a small amount is high in calories.

Very low or no fat diets are not recommended by nutritionists.

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nicole___

I eat yogurt as a snack. Make salad dressing with it. Top Mexican food with it instead of sour cream. I also eat peanut butter......other than that....not much ready made snack food here. I purchased fresh blueberries last week to snack on....for instance. The week before...Bing Cherries. We've been grilling chicken and salmon...outdoors. Corn-on-the-cob was ,19cents an ear. Yum!

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sephia_wa

Peanut butter - I only eat natural unsalted peanut butter. The only ingredient is peanuts. I tend to get Adams 100% natural unsalted. Brands like Skippy or Jif have all sorts of other ingredients.

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Elmer J Fudd

We have a favorite whole milk organic greek yogurt, a local product, that's very tangy and delicious but not a substitute for sour cream. Which, to me, when you need it, you need it.

The peanut butter we prefer has two ingredients, peanuts and salt. Nothing else. What an innovation!

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C Marlin

I'm surprised some of you believe trans fat aren't proven unhealthy. I read repeatedly it is bad to consume.

As others have said, it isn't difficult to avoid consuming unhealthy foods. It is a choice like many other choices we make every day. Eat healthy, live healthy, your choice, eat unhealthy, live unhealthy is also your choice. For myself I want to live the best quality life that I can control, there's enough we can't control, why make it worse.

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maifleur03

Sorry but I do not want to give up real butter and it has natural trans fats. There are several things that most people eat that have natural trans fats. Milk and any animal protein has trans fats. The idea is to eat them in moderation.

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Bookwoman

maifleur, what we're talking about is the artificially hydrogenated fats that are part of so many processed foods. It's indeed healthier to eat butter, in moderation, than to eat margarine and the like. And it tastes much better as well!

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maifleur03

No bookwoman if you are talking about avoiding trans fats you have to talk about all sources of trans fats.

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Elmer J Fudd

I very much agree with bookwoman. The trans-fat problem (that the FDA has acted to fix by banning it but too slowly and too politically) has to do with the unnecessary and excessive use and addition of artificial trans-fats in manufactured and processed "foods". Most of the where and when used isn't essential, such "foods" can be made without it

Butter is a natural and usually unadulterated product that when used in moderation is much healthier than margarine (which, again, is the product of food laboratories). But it contains saturated fats. Occasional and light use shouldn't be a problem other than for those diagnosed with or with a risk of heart disease. My information is casual and not professionally gained, anyone who has a reason to be concerned should check with an expert.


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perennialfan275

What brand of peanut butter do you guys eat out of curiosity? I will eat creamy or crunchy, both are good. I've been eating Skippy for years because that's what we always got, but I know it's not the healthiest kind. Also, as far as goals are concerned, I'm looking for some light (less than 300 calories) snacks that are healthy and not super overpriced. I know fruit is always an option, but looking for other things I can have too.


@Elmer good thing I hate margarine then. Whenever I need butter for something (like for baking, toast, pancakes, etc) I'll always use a different kind.

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sephia_wa

perennialfan, note I wrote that the natural peanut butter I eat is Adam's natural.

Just google "natural peanut butter." The only ingredients that need to be in peanut butter is peanuts and salt.

Skippy isn't considered natural peanut butter. Here's the ingredients in Skippy:

"Roasted peanuts, corn syrup solids, sugar, soy protein concentrate, salt, hydrogenated vegetable oil (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed oil) to prevent separation, mono- and diglycerides, minerals (magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, ferric orthophosphate, copper sulfate), vitamins (niacinamide, pyridoxine, hydrochloride..." Plus more chemicals.

All that stuff is unnecessary in peanut butter.

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wildchild2x2

I'm surprised some of you believe trans fat aren't proven unhealthy


Well no one said they are healthy either. It's just that some us choose to have balance in our lives. We understand that natural doesn't always mean more nutritious. We understand that processed is not a scary word. Many foods are not only more nutritious but also safer because of processing. We are not frightened by chemical names like sodium chloride because we understand it is just salt. We also understand that all those nutrition labels "are chemistry" so chemicals in food do not bring on the anxiety either. Without breaking down foods into their chemical compositions we couldn't have those labels.


Lastly we allow ourselves the indulgence of less healthy food or even things that would be unhealthy in large quantities in moderation. Living over existing, savoring over subsisting, serenity over anxiety.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

I find it very easy to avoid trans fats and processed foods. Except for occasional pasta, I just don't buy them. Santa Cruz is a great peanut butter with no junk in it. A handful of nuts makes a great snack--healthy and filling.

Whole fat dairy is healthy and MUCH tastier than reduced or no fat.

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nickel_kg

Wildchild has a good point, that everything is made of atoms which make up molecules which make up chemicals. Some man-made chemicals are tasty, some nature-made chemicals are fatal ... so just saying "avoid chemicals" is kinda silly. But it's also silly to discount the value of reading labels and educating yourself on what the ingredients are, why they are there, and asking yourself if you could make a similar product in a healthier manner.

Toby's point about starting with looking at your snacks is good. So many tasty little tidbits out there, so make a healthier choice.

I looked for books on sensible nutrition and came across this website listing 5 books. Anyone famliar with them? Got to run now so can't elaborate ...Must-Read-Books-NOT-Diet

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marilyn_c

I don't avoid them, however I don't use much in the way of prepared foods. I have never liked peanut butter...so that isn't a problem. I do buy it to mix up in rendered beef fat for the birds.

At my age, I eat anything I want. I tend to eat whatever I want at the time. I have no problems with blood pressure or cholesterol and I am not trying to diet. I have found that as I have gotten older, I eat much less than when I was younger. Back when I used to diet, I found it very difficult. I was never successful long term. Once I quit dieting, I lost weight.

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beesneeds

It's easier to avoid man-made trans fats by way of avoiding processed foods and reading labels.

It's more difficult to avoid trans fats that occur naturally in beef, sheep, goat, pork, chicken, and diary products. Some fish and fish oils have some trans fat content too.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Perennialfan, if you like overly processed peanut butter, like Skippy, you may want to try Justin's. It is not as good a choice as buying the peanut butters which are simply ground peanuts, but it may be a good compromise. It has palm oil which is not an environmentally friendly product. From a health perspective, here is what I found from Harvard:

Food manufacturers and restaurants have needed to find alternatives. One of them is palm oil. It's less saturated than butter and contains no trans fat. But just because it's not as bad as trans fat doesn't make it a health food. According to Harvard nutrition experts, palm oil is clearly better than high–trans fat shortenings and probably a better choice than butter. But vegetable oils that are naturally liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil and canola oil, should still be your first choice.


https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/by_the_way_doctor_is_palm_oil_good_for_you


As for snacks, I find it hard to control my grazing, so I prefer to have set meals, however, nobody's perfect, so I allow myself, a dozen raw nuts, walnuts or almonds usually, a square of dark chocolate, string cheese, a full fat yoghurt cup, an apple, carrots, celery, a dollop or two of hummus (with veggies, not bread.) It really helps to have lots of vegetable peeled and cut up in the refrigerator. That way when you are hungry, a bell pepper with some hummus is just as easy to grab as anything else.

Don't think of this as losing processed foods, instead, think of all you gain by choosing less processed foods.

Lastly, I have been in a bit of a rut lately, so I picked up BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits book. He helps people think about how to design their environment so that the behaviors they want to encourage are easy and manageable, relying on human nature and not willpower.



https://fs.blog/knowledge-project/bj-fogg/

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nickel_kg

If like me your downfall is cake, cookies, biscuits, donuts, bread, pizza, that sort of thing ... learn to make your own. That way you control the ingredients and you have the pleasure of accomplishing a good bake. Still have to work on moderation, lol.

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Elmer J Fudd

"If like me your downfall is cake, cookies, biscuits, donuts, bread, pizza, that sort of thing ... learn to make your own."

A better approach is to not buy these things at all. You can't eat what you don't have.

Alcoholics can't control their addition by buying small bottles or making their own beer and wine.

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nickel_kg

Elmer did you mean an even better approach would be to not even make such treats for yourself, so you don't have them in the house at all? Because yeah, I'd agree with that, for people who have a serious medical condition to address. But for many of us, who aren't dealing with a medical issue, simply controlling ingredients and exercising a bit of will power is sufficient.

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Toby

A little protein will make you feel full longer. Add a protein to breakfast. I like cereal in the morning and baked oatmeal provides protein with chopped walnuts and an egg. When made with a mashed banana, it tastes like banana bread but without the high fat and sugar. You will not need a morning snack because it's very filling.

1 1/4 c. milk

1 egg

1 tbsp. oil

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 c. oats

1/4 c. raisins or dried cranberries

1 ripe banana mashed, or 1 small apple, chopped

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Spray individual baking dishes with Pam. I use 10 oz. Pyrex custard cups. Beat together milk and egg. Stir in the rest of ingredients. Pour into dishes. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with additional milk.

I stopped eating yogurt and lost weight. I seldom eat peanut butter but I do still eat my favorite Jif. Sunflower seed butter is good and sometimes lower in sugar and sodium.

Humus is a good suggestion. Carrots sliced lengthwise can scoop humus and guacamole. My first introduction to guacamole was with carrots as the scoop. I've been making pizza using flatbread. I buy Stonefire Artisan flatbread at Kroger. One flatbread serves two of us.

It's okay to be a little hungry in the afternoon. Another meal is coming soon so you won't starve to death. If you eat a late dinner, move it up if you can.

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Elmer J Fudd

"But for many of us, who aren't dealing with a medical issue, simply
controlling ingredients and exercising a bit of will power is
sufficient."

I understand, everyone is different. To describe something as a downfall suggested to me having difficulty exercising willpower. To bake cookies and then stare at them and drool, and then to eat 1/2 a cookie every other day makes little sense.

I like ice cream but it's packed with calories so what's easiest for me is to avoid it. We never buy it and as a result I don't crave or even think about it. In the olden days when I went to grocery stores, walking down the frozen food section past the ice cream was never a problem and I never stopped or lingered.

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nickel_kg

Oh, now I understand what you're saying, Elmer -- yes. We all have to pick our battles, and it makes sense to keep trying different strategies until you find one that works. Total avoidance is one such strategy to try. For me, I find that eating a smaller amount of a higher quality sweet just about every day allows me to maintain a healthy weight. The few times I've tried to diet by cutting out sweets entirely ... backfired as I eventually, inevitably pigged out on 'forbidden' treats.

eta: I can walk down the cookie aisle and and pass by the deli cakes with no problem, confident I can make something tastier at home (and I control the ingredients). But ice cream, the premium Kroger ice cream brands call out to me! You are very strong to give it up!

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caflowerluver

Junk Food Junkie, Larry Groce , 1976 Vinyl 45RPM

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Elmer J Fudd

Yes, we're all different. Cutting out "sweets" is no different than cutting out anything else. The approach that has always worked for me is not having in the house what you're trying to avoid. That's Step 1. There is no Step 2 except having patience until the new normal becomes regular and established.

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