If you are in the habit of reading the labels on your foods and the words “trans fats” show up, put the food down and keep looking; that food is not a healthy choice. Trans fats occur naturally in very small amounts in some foods, such as dairy fat and meats. But these fats have been manipulated by the food industry, and as a result of a chemical process, they now appear in certain kinds of processed foods. The presence of trans fats increases a food’s shelf life because the liquid fats have been altered to remain solid at room temperature. These foods are edible, but are known to increase inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes by raising your LDL, or bad cholesterol. Think about this: If trans fats are solid at room temperature, you don’t want them to stay solid in your body and gum up your arteries!
According to registered dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick of the Cleveland Clinic, trans fats are found in margarine, commercially made cakes, pies, and cookies (especially if they have frosting), biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, crackers, microwave popcorn, doughnuts, fried fast foods and frozen pizzas. You can always make healthier choices for snacks and desserts by eating homemade foods and not preserved and processed ones. Have fresh cut-up veggies for snacks, and fruit for dessert. Pop your own popcorn on the stove. Reach for rice cakes, rice crackers, and nuts when you need something crunchy. Save the cakes, pies, cookies and doughnuts for special occasions. Our bodies need healthy fats to function optimally, and trans fats have no place in your healthy lifestyle.
--Dr. Kate Kennedy