We are plagued by a deadly disease. It can be found on every shelf of every supermarket across the US, in every fastfood order throughout the country, in the the majority of meals eaten by ordinary people like you and me. It’s ghostly cries go out from the food processing companies and echo down every street of our country, Eat me! I am delicious.
Trans fat occurs ‘during the processing of polyunsaturated fatty acids in food production’ (thanks, Wikipedia). To put that in a language the rest of us can understand, what we have here is a terrible case of heart disease. Allow me to explain.
Trace amounts of natural trans fat can be found in, well, nature. However, their negative side effects are virtually nothing in comparison to the atomic artery bomb that scientifically engineered trans fat produces.
Originally trans fat came about because mankind began losing faith in saturated fat. I guess they realized it somehow contributes to clogged arteries? (What?!) Funny story: trans fat does the same. Exact. Thing.
So now we have food with a longer shelf life, a better texture and stronger flavors. But 40% of what’s sold in the US now also does 3 things: 1) clogs arteries, increasing the potential for heart disease, 2) raises bad cholesterol, increasing the potential for heart disease and, 3) lowers good cholesterol, increasing the potential for heart disease.
Here you go, Monsanto, take all my money. And, in turn, add me to the growing number of people dying of heart disease each day. Seems fair. After all, I’m a consumer. It’s what I’m paying you for.
Now here’s where things get dicey.
In all of its food/health-knowledge and overall omnipotent wisdom and power, the benevolent government forces decided that any product containing .5 grams of trans fat or less actually contains 0 grams. In what world does .5 = 0? I took math in college and as far as I’m concerned, that is an extraneous solution.
How then, brothers and sisters, are we to discern which foods contain trans fat and which do not? It’s quite simple, really. (They thought they snagged us with the ‘0 trans fat’ on the label. I defy you, processed food!)
Turns out any product made with hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils contains some amount of trans fat. When in doubt, read the ingredients.
So how much trans fat is too much? The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fat you eat to less than 1% of your daily calorie intake. So a person consuming 2,000 calories per day should not take more than 20 calories of trans fat. That would equal about 6 Oreos (back before Kraft was sued for making such disgustingly unhealthy food).
The American Heart Association claims (this is the most beautiful part): “Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fats you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fats.”
There you have it. Trans fat’s the devil. … Or at least close second.
Well, I’m off to lunch.