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Do Not Go Overboard Celebrating the Trans Fat Ban

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  November 8, 2013 02:47 PM

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Source:  FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hit a grand slam yesterday by issuing a Federal Register notice stating that they are preliminarily considering that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are no longer “generally recognized as safe,” also known as GRAS, in the food industry.   PHOs are the major source of trans fat in the diet and are found in many processed foods such as grain-based desserts (cookies, cakes, and pies).

Research has shown that trans fat not only increases the “bad” LDL cholesterol but also lowers the "good" HDL cholesterol in the body.   In essence, it causes a double whammy in your body.  “If the FDA does determine that PHOs are not GRAS, it could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in foods," says Dennis M. Keefe, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety.

But before you order the celebratory donuts for everyone in the office, keep in mind that when you take the trans fat out the donut, you are still left with a donut.  The baked good did not miraculously get converted into an apple or banana.  

The No. 1 source of daily calories in the American diet is grain-based desserts.  Yup…..bakery items.  Americans are eating close to 140 calories of grain-based desserts daily, which is also the No. 1 source of heart-unhealthy solid fats such as saturated fat.  With over 65 percent of Americans currently overweight, few of us have a lot of room in our daily diets for desserts, whether or not  they contain trans fats.

Again, bravo to the FDA for considering this new science-based, health policy.  But please celebrate with a basket of fruit.

Do you have a nutrition topic that you would like me to cover.  If so, please email me at

Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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