What do frostings, microwave popcorn, and coffee creamers have in common? They are among the popular products that sill contain trans fats. Trans fats are oils that “are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter,” and that “are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid.” What makes them so unhealthy is that they clog arteries and create heart-related diseases. In 2006, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, had already forced companies to label trans fats in their products, which brought many companies to eliminate their use of trans fats completely. The FDA says that the consumption of trans fats dropped 78% from 2003 to 2012 (from 4.6 grams a day to 1 gram a day). On Tuesday, the FDA took a further step when deciding to give the food industry 3 years to eliminate trans fats completely, change that would, according to the FDA, prevent “20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.” Trans fats will not be completely eliminated from our diet though, as they still occur naturally in meat and dairy products, and are produced in small amounts during the manufacturing process of certain edible oils.
Contributor: Cristina Herrera