Top Ten Trans-fat containing foods

Trans-Fat
Trans-Fat

Trans-fats are of two types, one is the essential fatty acids that are required for body functions like metabolism. The other types are the not so friendly trans-fats that can ruin your heart health if not controlled. Most health-conscious consumers make a studied choice to avoid foods that contain or are fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils as these trans-fats are unhealthy and give rise to ‘bad’ cholesterol. The FSSAI has amended regulations to reduce the content of trans-fats in food. The Apex Food Regulator has also made it mandatory to display trans-fat content on nutritional labels on packaged food products so consumers can opt for healthy foods.

Most food business operators are getting their food products tested for trans fats in food testing laboratories recognized by FSSAI so that they can be in compliance with regulations. Getting foods tested for trans fats can be a smart business move as consumers demand food products with low or no trans fat content are growing and they now opt to buy products and ingredients that have low trans fat content. A number of foods contain trans-fats but some foods have more trans- fat content than others. Since labeling of trans fat quantity is mandatory it is important for all food manufacturers to ensure they use the right kinds of oils and fats in their food products so the foods have low trans fat content. Moreover, consumers have begun to read labels and if there is no mention of trans-fat content consumers are likely to avoid buying that food.

This article is a small attempt to point out which foods that have a high content of trans- fat so as food manufacturers can help consumers make better health choices. Consumers can also have a chance at better health by opting for food products where nutritional labels say no trans fat or low trans fat content. Listed below are some foods that have high trans fat content but there could be many other products that have trans fat and need to be tested so that food product contains only the recommended amount of trans fat and quantities are labeled correctly.

  1. Margarine

Margarine is considered to have one of the highest content of trans-fats because hydrogenated vegetables oils are used in the process as that is required to keep the margarine firm. Hydrogenation is a process that leads to hardening of vegetable oils. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are basically trans-fats. Therefore margarine is no longer considered a healthy choice as it could contain trans-fat which is as high as 3 grams per serving. If you still prefer margarine check the label and get one that says less than 1% margarine.

  1. Fried Fast Foods

Anything deep fried is suspect of having large quantities of trans-fat; be it fried chicken, samosas, pakoras, French fries, etc. especially if the oil used is hydrogenated vegetable oil like vanaspati. Restaurants and eateries more often than not use vanaspati as it increases the shelf life of foods and enhances flavors. The level of trans-fats in these foods could be as much as 2 grams to 5 grams per serving. For your own heart’s sake avoid deep fried foods no matter how tempting.

  1. Frozen Foods

Frozen pies, pizzas, dinners, fish sticks could be loaded with trans-fat. The packaging might say low fat, but on average, frozen foods contain 3-15 grams of trans-fat per serving. Frozen pizzas need trans-fat to give the crust that flaky texture and each serving could contain at least 1 gram of trans-fat. Commercially frozen foods like frozen dinners might be convenient foods but the fact is that is, that these are likely to make you inconvenient you as far as health is concerned.

  1. Popcorn

Popcorn is considered a healthy snack but the truth is that it is only the air-popped variety that is healthy. The moment popcorn is prepared in a microwave it loses its ‘healthy’ form. In a movie hall, the butter topped popcorn is overloaded with trans-fat because the butter topping alone accounts for 5 grams of trans-fat per serving and flavoring could add to trans-fat level. Most people opt for microwave popcorn as this is a quick and convenient means of preparing a snack but it is best to eat it occasionally.

  1. Fried small snacks

Potatoes chips and namkeen snacks may taste good and are sized correctly for snacking but they contain more trans-fat per serving than any other foods. The labels may claim that they are partially hydrogenated but they could have trans-fat more than what is claimed on the label.

  1. Baked foods

While passing a bakery you are likely to notice the cakes, patties, and biscuits, all beautifully displayed in the showcases. But beauty comes at the cost of your health especially if you select to buy cake and one that is decorated beautifully with colored frosting. When baking cakes bakers use trans-fat and on top of that, the frosting too contains trans-fat. So beware of buying the attractive cake or patties and biscuits as they look that way because hydrogenated vegetable oil is helping them to look good and increase their shelf life.

  1. Ice-creams

Ice creams are a delightful treat in summers for the young and old alike. However, everyone might not be aware that they are not only high in trans-fats but high in sugar and calories too. Make sure you have a very small helping so that your intake of trans-fat and calories per serving is minimized

  1. Non-dairy creamers/whiteners

Creamers and whiteners might contain negligible amounts of trans-fat per serving. However, if you use whiteners routinely and your intake of tea and coffee is high then the intake of trans-fat will increase proportionately. If you use creamers read the manufacturers serving size and use just the amount recommended instead “whitening” the coffee with a teaspoon of a teaspoon of creamers.

  1. Dressing dips and spreads

Salad dressings, sandwich spreads, and dips are full of trans-fat and the creamier they are the more trans-fat they are likely to have. If you wish to use commercially prepared dips and dressings, select those that use olive oil as the ingredient and avoid the creamy ones.

  1. Doughnuts

Many times food establishments advertise that they have zero trans-fat in their baked products. However, if you choose frosted or cream filled doughnuts they are bound to contain some levels of trans-fat. Add sugar to the trans-fat and you have in your hand’s something quite unhealthy.

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