Friday, March 16, 2012

Trans Fats

It's been a week since I have posted. I've been really busy both at home and at work - but in happy news, I hit 100 pounds lost this week! :-)

On another note,  as part of my new healthier lifestyle, one of my goals is to stop eating so many processed foods and eat fresh foods and foods that I cook myself as often as possible. That said, I am not quite there yet and I still rely quite heavily on frozen entrees (like Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, and Green Giant steamers...) for lunch. They are easy to pack and heat up for a quick lunch at work. These things are pretty heavily processed. So, I was happy last week when I came upon a very useful smartphone / Iphone app. It is called fooducate. I love it.  I can scan the bar code on food packaging with it and it will grade the food and give me important nutrition information about the foods. On the down side, I found out that one of the Weight Watchers Entrees that I was eating pretty regularly has trans fats in it. Yikes. No more of that.

On that note, apparently, Weight Watchers managed to sneak through a loophole in the law that does not require a product to "claim" transfats if there are less than .49 grams in the product. That Weight Watchers would do this annoys me. Now, to be clear, the packaging of this particular food does not claim that the food contains "no trans fats," however, given the purpose of Weight Watchers entrees, I still find it to be a bit unethical to say the least. These entrees are purchased by people who are trying to lose weight. Many people who are trying to lose weight (me), are doing so for health reasons or to avoid health problems associated with things like high cholesterol. Trans fats are VERY unhealthy. Trans fat consumption has been linked to increased risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and sudden cardiac death. The recommended consumption of trans fats is only 1.11 grams per day.  Eat 3 products that are deceptively labeled as trans fat free, and  you are exceeding that. So, shame on Weight Watchers (and I'm sure I'll find more of these as I go, and probably in weight loss products).

If you don't have a handy little app, the best way to tell if a food has trans fats (even if the manufacturer is trying to slide through the loophole), is to look for ingredients that are "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils - these have some transfats in them.


  1. Mel,
    Thanks to your example, I am finally excercising regularly!!! I feel so much better and I have the added bonus of getting to hang out with one of my very best friends while we get healthy together.
    And good for you for trying to wean yourself from the processed foods. I has been a 4 year process for us, but we are darn close to no highly processed foods in the house. Heinz Ketchup for the boys still hasn't been cut, but we're getting there. Take it slowly so that it really sticks! I recommend In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Very freeing!

  2. Awesome, Alyssa! I just picked up In Defense of Food and started reading it this weekend, thanks for the recommendation!