I am thrilled that the FDA is finally putting its foot down on partially hydrogenated oils and has submitted its order to remove them from our food within the next three years. As hydrogenated oils are arguably the worst type of fats you can consume, this is welcomed news and I applaud the FDA for stepping up its game.
Believe it or not, I’ve known since my senior year of college that hydrogenated oils are bad news for our health, specifically our cholesterol levels. During one of my final presentations at school, I reported their risk to our health and how they can raise LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels and lower HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels, which is supported by the Mayo Clinic today. Back when I was doing research for that presentation, however, I could only find research from Europe. No one in the United States even knew, or cared, what trans fats were 20 years ago or how adding hydrogen to natural oils has absolutely no health benefits whatsoever.
It wasn’t until New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg banned artificial trans fats from restaurants in 2006 that our country finally started to take notice of them. The FDA made nutrition labels specify products’ trans fat content. Grocery store items that had never even had trans fat in them started showing up with big “No Trans Fat” stickers. Fast food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell removed trans fat from their food and cooking oils by 2007. Companies like Crisco, which basically used to make hydrogenated oils in bulk, re-made their formula to be sans trans fat, and as of now, most food manufacturers have already lowered their use of them by 86% according to a statement released from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. These were huge steps, and this latest one to remove them from all foods is the biggest of them all.
Just because foods will be less artery-clogging come 2018 doesn’t mean you should chow down on doughnuts or load your cupboards with reformulated margarine. When it comes to your cholesterol, I stand by supporting eggs and even butter (which has been better for you than trans fat substitutes literally forever).
But please don’t misunderstand me--I’m not suggesting you wolf down a carton of eggs tonight or a stick of butter on your baked potato. Seven eggs per week and using butter
sparingly is the way to go. Additionally, olives, nuts, fruits and veggies are great for boosting that “good” cholesterol, although occasionally (depending on the trending health fad) these can get a bad wrap. Let me reassure you--these foods are natural. They’ve never been bad for you and they never will be. If, however, that one day becomes untrue, I will be here to let you know and keep you informed. You have my word.
Spoon photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Egg photo courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net