Say goodbye to a staple of the American diet. Your favorite foods may be about to change. The FDA is banning trans fats (A.K.A. trans fatty acids) because they pose such a huge public health risk. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the change could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths every year. Hasta la vista, partially hydrogenated oils!
The ban is not in effect yet. They're going to roll it out slowly so no food company suffers a metaphorical heart attack. But change is a-coming. Fortunately, a lot of food companies are ahead of the game and are already phasing out trans fats. Unfortunately, many other food companies have yet to release their death grip on the stuff. So -- which foods still contain trans fats?
In most cases you can tell if something has trans fats by looking at the nutritional label. Also, check out the ingredients list for hydrogenated oils. Many foods, like ice cream and beef, have naturally occurring trans fats, which are not necessarily as unhealthy as artificial trans fats.
1. Margarine, shortening, and other spreadable butter substitutes. I can't believe it's so bad for me! In case you didn't get the memo, real butter is officially better tasting AND better for you.
2. Cake, pancake, and waffle mixes. Do you know how easy it is to make your own pancake batter from scratch? Just do it. Baking a cake from scratch is easier than you think.
3. Soup cups and packaged ramen noodles. You wouldn't think it, but they're there.
4. French fries and, really, almost anything battered and fried. Unless a restaurant tells you specifically that they do not use trans fats, just assume they're there.
5. Microwave popcorn. What's that smell? Someone's popping heart disease in the microwave. Yum.
6. Frozen meals. One of the worst offenders.
7. Baked treats. Also way, way up there. Packaged, mass-produced cookies, cakes, brownies are often made with trans fats because it gives them a longer shelf life.
8. Chips. Trans fats give tortilla chips, potato chips, and even many crackers that light, crisp texture we love.
9. Cereal bars. And you thought you were eating something healthy!
10. Nondairy creamer and flavored coffees. If it's creamy and doesn't have to be refrigerated, it probably has trans fats.
11. Salad dressing. Basically, assume anything at the grocery store other than fresh fruits and vegetables has trans fats. I'm kidding. No, but really -- this ban is going to take a while.
Are any of your favorite foods on this list?
Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr