The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to eliminate artificial trans fats—those commonly found in processed foods, including desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, margarine, and coffee creamer—from the food supply, saying that they can raise LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and cause heart disease. According to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, there’s “no safe level of consumption of trans fat.” The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories.
That means that if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories should come from trans fats. Obviously, that’s not a lot, and considering that trans fats also occur naturally in milk, butter, cheese, beef, lamb, pork, and chicken, people who eat meat and dairy products likely exceed this amount even if they don’t consume foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils.
While it’s good that the FDA is taking steps to get artificial trans fats out of food, it should also remind people that animal-based foods contain unhealthy trans fats, too, in addition to cholesterol, saturated fats, and other substances that can cause serious health problems.
If the new rules pass and trans fats are no longer allowed in processed and packaged foods, then it will be even easier for vegans to avoid trans fats. But everyone can reduce their trans fat consumption by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other wholesome vegan foods rather than meat, dairy products, and processed foods.
PETA has healthy eating tips for people who want to lose weight and ward off heart disease and other illnesses, as well as helping animals and the environment. Something to keep in mind when making your New Year’s resolutions this year!