"Zero Trans Fat" Foods

"Zero Trans Fat" Foods

Consumers often ask that ingredients such as "cocoa butter substitute", "margarine" and "cream" are marked in the food ingredient list. Do they contain trans fatty acids? Why is the content of trans fatty acids marked as "zero" in the Nutrition Facts table, are there really zero trans fat foods?

What the heck are trans fats?

Trans fat, also known as trans fatty acid, reverse fatty acid, is a type of unsaturated fatty acid (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated). Its main harm is to damage the cardiovascular system, increase low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, reduce high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and promote atherosclerosis. This hazard alone is enough to warn everyone to stay away from it.

There is no need to worry about food ingredient lists. Cocoa butter substitutes, creamers, margarines, etc. are not directly equivalent to trans fatty acids. It should be said that their main raw material is hydrogenated vegetable oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oil may contain trans fatty acids. Take chocolate products, for example. When you buy a chocolate, be sure to look carefully at the ingredient list. According to relevant regulations in my country, chocolate products with a cocoa butter content exceeding 5% must be marked with the words "cocoa butter substitute" on the front. There will also be the words "cocoa butter substitute" and the words "hydrogenated vegetable oil" in the ingredient list on the back. While consumers may not even look closely, cocoa butter substitutes are found in many beautifully packaged chocolates on the market.

Natural cocoa butter is completely free of trans fatty acids, while cocoa butter substitutes may contain small amounts of trans fatty acids. Due to the high price and limited supply of natural cocoa butter, cocoa butter substitutes can be produced in large quantities from other fats, so they are often used in chocolate candy, chocolate, chocolate waffles, chocolate ice cream, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake and other products.

In daily life, any food that contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient may contain trans fatty acids. Such as vegetable cream, shortbread, pies, cookies, shortbread cookies, non-fat cakes, non-fat ice cream, etc. The specific content is related to product requirements and production process. Products with high degree of hydrogenation and good technical control can achieve very low trans fatty acid content, such as the creamer used in coffee mate, the trans fatty acid content can be lower than 0.5%. In addition, even without adding any hydrogenated vegetable oil, ordinary vegetable oil will produce small amounts of trans fatty acids after long-term frying. So eating less fried foods is wise from a nutritional and safety standpoint.

The Bottom Line on the Body's Tolerance of Trans Fats

The daily intake of trans fatty acids for adults should be less than 1% of the total daily calorie intake, and for the 1800 kcal daily calorie intake standard for light-weight adult women, the intake of trans fatty acids must be less than 2 grams.

my country's prepackaged food nutrition labeling standard GB28050 stipulates that all products containing hydrogenated vegetable oil as ingredients must be labeled with the content of trans fatty acids. Due to the promotion of this regulation, oil companies have improved their processes, and the content of trans fatty acids in various hydrogenated vegetable oil products has dropped significantly. As long as qualified hydrogenated oil is selected and the proportion used is lower, the content of trans fatty acids in the finished product can be lower than 0.3%, so that it can be legally marked as "zero".

However, even having zero trans fatty acids doesn't mean the product is healthy. Because hydrogenated vegetable oil products usually contain a lot of saturated fat, and the nutritional value of vitamins and minerals is relatively low. It’s okay to eat it occasionally. It’s really not worth it to give such food generously to your limited stomach capacity and daily calorie share. Among the products with hydrogenated vegetable oil ingredients, there are many big brand products, but most people don't read the ingredient list or the nutrition list, so they don't know it.

A big brand must have many products with different ingredients. This is often the case. The appearance of the packaging seems to be similar, but the selection and proportion of ingredients are quite different, and the nutritional value and health value are quite different. Some companies use different ingredient lists for the same product in different countries: some are cocoa powder and cocoa butter, some are cocoa butter substitutes; some are cream and milk powder, and some are margarine and creamer. Most consumers only look at the brand when they buy it, and they don’t care about what the food is made of. Misled by the inherent myth that "big brands must have good ingredients".
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