Americans Wise Up to Trans Fats -- Sort Of
Quick: Name three foods that contain trans fats.
If you can do so, you're ahead of most Americans, a new study suggests. Reporting in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from four universities working with the American Heart Association found that while 92 percent of 1,000 respondents questioned in 2007 were aware of trans fats as a substance that may contribute to cardiovascular disease, only 17 percent could name three foods that contain the bad fats.
Even so, 37 percent of respondents said they'd changed their purchasing and eating behaviors to avoid trans fats, seeking products that were labeled "zero trans fat," for instance.
The authors note that when they asked about trans fats in 2006 -- a few months after the FDA started requiring manufacturers to list trans fats as a separate item on the Nutrition Facts panel -- 84 percent of respondents were aware of them. They give some credit for the uptick in knowledge to increased news coverage and public-awareness campaigns, pointing out that the number of media stories they counted about trans fats doubled in a year (from 516 in May 2006 to 1,138 in May 2007).
Part of the difficulty in naming sources of trans fats (which are thought to clog arteries if eaten in excess) may be that the landscape is shifting -- for the better. Whereas Oreo cookies and McDonald's french fries were once major culprits, their manufacturers have responded to public concern by altering their recipes to eliminate trans fats.
But trans fats still lurk in many baked goods, snack crackers and even salad dressings and microwave popcorn. Try this: Next time you grocery shop, take an extra few minutes to study the nutrition data on the packaged foods you pick up. Please tell us about any trans fats surprises you turn up.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
February 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Nutrition and Fitness
Save & Share: Previous: What's Your Favorite Artificial Sweetener?
Next: Is Less More for Heart Attack Patients?
Posted by: EWP1124 | February 18, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nthwoods | February 18, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jennifer LaRue Huget | February 18, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: amr2 | February 18, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rashomon | February 18, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: em2008 | February 18, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dhavron1 | February 19, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: shantybird | February 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DrRobertCarlParisien | February 21, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.