Breakfast Coming Up

5 Foods That Still Have Trans Fats, But Not for Long

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that they will declare trans fats unsafe for use in food products. This move comes seven years after New York City banned trans fats from restaurants.

Back in 2006, some nutrition experts worried that banning trans fats would lead to consumption of more saturated fats. But a study published last year in Annals of Internal Medicine showed no such increase.

Despite a broad acceptance of the dangers posed by trans fats, here’s a list of five common foods that still use them. Read labels for these foods carefully if you want to avoid trans fats.
Margarine, Please

  1. Some margarines. Many, but not all, margarines have eliminated trans fats.
  2. Fast food. McDonald’s finally eliminated trans fats in 2005, but many fast food outlets are lagging.
  3. Popcorn. Trans fats are common in microwave and movie theater popcorn. The ban will likely lead to more real butter.
  4. Baked goods. A surprising range of cookies, crackers, pie crusts, pizza dough, and breads still have trans fats.
  5. Doughnuts. Getting rid of trans fats in doughnuts has been a challenge. Without them, doughnuts seem greasier. But some brands, like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, made the change five years ago.

This move to completely ban trans fat was greeted enthusiastically by nutrition activists and with muted acceptance by the food industry. By now, it seemed inevitable.

Perhaps good data made it easier.

Click here to read more in the New York Times, here to read more in the LA Times, and here to read the study of the impact of the trans fat ban in New York City.

Breakfast Coming Up, photograph © Tobias Löfgren / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.