If you’ve been reading the headlines, you’ve noticed that entities ranging in size from New York City to small local restaurants like Gringo Tamales in Wimberly, Texas have tossed trans-fats.
On December 5th, 2006, the New York City Board of Health voted to require all restaurants—including bakeries and pizza parlors—to eliminate trans-fats from their foods by July of 2008.
Many other restaurants, bakeries and take-out places around the country aren’t waiting for similar legislation to hit them before taking action. They are taking trans-fats out of their foods in response to the bad buzz going around the restaurant industry.
So what’s the big deal?
It starts with the way that trans-fats are made. They are created by taking otherwise harmless vegetable oils and heating them, running electrical current through them, and bubbling hydrogen gas through them. This process is called hydrogenating, and it creates hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils are wonderful for manufacturers and distributors because they have a long shelf life. But your body hates them because they clog your arteries and increase your low density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as "good" cholesterol.
Remember the warnings about saturated fats? Well, trans-fats are worse, according bantransfats.com, an organization that sued Kraft in 2003 to remove trans-fats from Oreos, and sued McDonald’s that same year for misleading consumers into thinking it had banned trans-fat oils when, in fact, it had not.
Bantransfats.com provided support to NYC for the recent trans-fat ban, and on their site they state that:
- One McDonald's large fries contains 8 grams of trans fat.
- A McDonald's apple pie contains 4.5 grams of trans fat.
- A large order of KFC Popcorn Chicken contains 7 grams of trans fat.
- KFC's Chicken Pot Pie contains 14 grams of trans fat.
- A typical 3-piece KFC Extra Crispy combo meal, with a drumstick, two thighs, potato wedges, and a biscuit contains 15 grams of trans fat.
So just what are these trans-fats that restaurants are increasingly banning from their kitchens?
- Frying oil
- Fried chicken, French fries, and anything else fried
- Most bakery items
- Waffles and pancakes
What are restaurants using instead of trans-fats? They are:
- Using olive oil instead of margarine.
- Using butter instead of shortening.
- Shifting dessert menus away from pastries and towards fruit plates
- Cutting out fried foods or using healthy oils (which are more expensive)
- Substituting healthy granola instead of cereal at breakfast bars
- Substituting grits or oatmeal with honey and butter for pancakes or waffles.
- Providing Promise or Smart Beat—or even real butter—instead of regular margarines.
So when you take trans-fats out of your diet, what can you substitute to make sure you get the healthful fats you need? Here are a few recommendations to help you get more healthful Omega 3 and 6 fats:
- Omega Mix blend —a tasty mix of ground raw nuts and seeds
- Omega Oil blend —a wonderful addition to shakes or salads
- Omega Energy Fish Oil —good in cooking or straight
- Omega 3/6 blend —the best way to cover all your bases
- Raw almonds —a wholesome, fresh way to get your Omegas.
Gerry Morton, CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 25+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry is an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation and exercise. Since 1997, he has been educating and motivating others on how to attain peak performance.