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The Informed Parent

Trans Fat, Part II

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Feb. 19, 2007
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Last month we brought trans fat to your attention in terms of definition, examples and how to avoid. Continuing on--

HOW DO YOUR CHOICES STACK UP?

With the addition of trans fat to the Nutrition Facts panel, you can review your food choices and see how they stack up. The following labels illustrate total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol content per serving for selected food products.

Don't assume similar products are the same. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel (NFP) when comparing products because even similar foods can vary in calories, ingredients, nutrients, and the size and number of servings in the package. When buying the same brand product, also check the NFP frequently because ingredients can change at any time and any change could affect the NFP information..

Look at the highlighted items on the sample labels below. Combine the grams (g) of saturated fat the trans fat and look for the lowest combined amount. Also, look for the lowest percent (%) Daily Value for cholesterol. Check all three nutrients to make the best choice for a healthful diet.

Note: The following label examples do not represent a single product or an entire product category. In general, the nutrient values were combined for several products and the average values were used for these label examples.

+ Values for total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat were based on the means of analytical data for several food samples from Subramaniam, S., et al., "Trans, Saturated, and Unsaturated Fat in Foods in the United States Prior to Mandatory trans-fat Labeling, "Lipids 39, 11-18, 2004. Other information and values were derived from food labels in the marketplace.

HOW CAN I USE THE LABEL TO MAKE HEART-HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES?

The nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. To lower your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, compare similar foods and choose the food with the lower combined saturated and trans fats and the lower amount of cholesterol.

Next month we will conclude the study of trans fat for your information as a consumer and a good health provider for your family.




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