How COOKIES and baked goods can make you depressed | Daily Mail Online

After a stressful day, most of us reach for a cookie believing it will make us feel better.

But new research shows eating biscuits and cakes might actually mess with our emotions.

US researchers found trans fatty acids – commonly found in baked goods and processed foods – can alter how we regulate our feelings.

A study of 5,000 people found those who ate more of these fatty acids had less awareness and control over their emotions.


Trans fatty acids found in baked goods alter people’s ability to regulate their emotions, a study found

They were less aware of their feelings, less able to read emotions clearly, and less able to regulate their mood, Yahoo Health reports.

When they consumed less trans fatty acids, researchers found people were better able to regulate their mood.

The study’s author, Megan Holt, a dietitian from San Diego State University, said she wanted to know more about the link between trans fatty acids and mental health, because the relationship is poorly understood.

via How COOKIES and baked goods can make you depressed | Daily Mail Online.


FDA Tells Food Industry to Phase out Artificial Trans Fats – ABC News

The Obama administration is ordering food companies to phase out the use of heart-clogging trans fats over the next three years, calling them a threat to public health.

The move will remove artificial trans fats from the food supply almost entirely. Consumers aren’t likely to notice much of a difference in their favorite foods, but the administration says the move will reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.

Scientists say there are no health benefits to the fats, which are used in processing food and in restaurants, usually to improve texture, shelf life or flavor. They can raise levels of “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

The fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which is why they are often called partially hydrogenated oils.

Once a staple of the American diet — think shortening and microwave popcorn — most artificial trans fats are already gone. The FDA says that between 2003 and 2012, consumer trans fat consumption decreased an estimated 78 percent as food companies have used other kinds of oils to replace them.

via FDA Tells Food Industry to Phase out Artificial Trans Fats – ABC News.

Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat : The Salt : NPR

“The time is long overdue to get trans fats out of the food supply,” says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He nudged for a mandatory labeling of trans fats on food packages, which has been in place since 2006.

So, where do we still find trans fats in the food supply? The labels of ready-to-bake pie crusts, baked goods and microwave popcorn are a good place to look.

Also, there are low-levels of trans fats in lots of foods — levels that fall below the threshold for labeling. As my colleague Eliza Barclay has reported, zero trans fats doesn’t necessarily mean zero.

via Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat : The Salt : NPR.

5 foods that face changes with trans-fat ban | Fox News

5 foods that face changes with trans-fat ban

By Rachael RettnerPublished November 08, 2013LiveScience


The Food and Drug Administration\’s announcement today (Nov. 7) that trans fats could be phased out means that some popular food products may need to be reformulated in the future to comply with the law.

The FDA said it has taken steps to move trans fat out of its current category of food ingredients that are \”generally recognized as safe\” (GRAS). If trans fat are not GRAS, they would become illegal food additives, unless food companies can prove that they are not harmful to health, which would be a challenge, Michael R. Taylor, the FDA\’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, told the New York Times.

Before the decision is finalized, the FDA is seeking public comment for 60 days to hear from the food industry and other experts to determine how long it would take food manufacturers to phase out trans fats, and how the change would impact small businesses.

Trans fats are produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, and companies began adding the ingredient to processed food in the 1950s to lengthen the shelf-life and flavor stability of their products, the FDA said. [3 Tips for Eating Less Trans Fat]

Since 2006, food companies have been required to list trans fat on their labels, a law that pressured many manufactures to reduce trans fat in their products. In fact, the average American today consumes about 1 gram of trans fat daily, down from 4.6 grams in 2003, according to the FDA. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that people keep trans fat consumption as low as possible.

However, trans fats can still be found in some processed foods, and is listed on the ingredients label as partially hydrogenated oil. Here\’s a list of some popular trans fat holdouts that may be affected by the FDA proposal:

Microwave popcorn:

According to a recent study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, declines in trans fat in microwave popcornhave been particularly slow compared to some other food products. In 2011, popcorn products had an average of nearly 4 grams of trans fat per serving, the study found.

Some popcorn brands have eliminated trans fat, but others still contain up to 5 grams of trans fat per serving, according to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest.

Cookies and crackers:

Some baked goods, such as cookies and crackers, can contain trans fat, saidKatherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian, and op-ed contributor to LiveScience. Manufacturers of these products like to use trans fat because it\’s a solid at room temperature that helps the product to be crispy, Tallmadge said. Cookies can contain up to 3.5 grams of trans fat per serving, according to the CDC.

Still, Tallmadge noted \”a lot of trans fats are out of the marketplace,\” thanks to the requirement that trans fat be listed on food labels.

Refrigerated dough and pie crust:

Refrigerated dough, like cookie and biscuit dough, and ready-made pie crust can make dessert-making easy, but consumers should be wary of trans fat in the products. Some brands of refrigerated dough and ready-made pie crusts or mixes can contain between 2 and 3 grams of trans fat, according to the CSPI.


Trans fat in margarines has also declined slowly in recent years, according to the Preventing Chronic Disease study. The study found that margarine and spread products contained, on average, about 2 grams of trans fat per serving in 2011.

Coffee creamers:

Some coffee creamers contain trans fat, according to the FDA. In a 2008 study by CSPI, some coffee creamers were found to have between 0.1 and 0.7 grams of trans fat.

Products that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat can be labeled as containing 0 grams, the FDA says. So consumers should look at ingredient labels and try to avoid creamers that list partially hydrogenated soy or canola oil, the CSPI says.

via 5 foods that face changes with trans-fat ban | Fox News.

F.D.A. Moves to Ban Trans Fats, Citing Health Concerns –

F.D.A. Moves to Ban Trans Fats, Citing Health Concerns


The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed measures that would all but eliminate artificial trans fats, the artery clogging substance that is a major contributor to heart disease in the United States, from the food supply.

Under the proposal, which is open for public comment for 60 days, the agency would declare that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, were no longer “generally recognized as safe,” a legal category that permits the use of salt and caffeine, for example.

That means companies would have to prove scientifically that partially hydrogenated oils are safe to eat, a very high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of artificial trans fats.

“That will make it a challenge, to be honest,” said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the F.D.A.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the agency’s commissioner, said the rules could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

The move concluded three decades of battles by public health advocates against artificial trans fats, which occur when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. The long-lasting fats became popular in frying and baking and in household items like margarine, and were cheaper than animal fat, like butter.

But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are worse than any other fat for health because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2006, an F.D.A. rule went into effect requiring that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. A year earlier, New York City told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking. Many major chains like McDonalds, found substitutes, and eliminated trans fats.

Those actions led to major advances in public health: Trans fat intake declined among Americans to about one gram a day in 2012, down from 4.6 grams in 2006. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that blood levels of trans fatty acids among white adults in the United States declined by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009.

But the fats were not banned, and still lurk in many popular processed foods, such as microwave popcorn, certain desserts, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers.

“The artery is still half clogged,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the disease centers. “This is about preventing people from being exposed to a harmful chemical that most of the time they didn’t even know was there.”

He noted that artificial trans fats are required to be on the label only if there is more than half a gram per serving, a trace amount that can add up fast and lead to increased risk of heart attack. Even as little as two or three grams of trans fat a day can increase the health risk, scientists say.

“It’s quite important,” said Dr. Frieden, who led the charge against the fats in New York when he was health commissioner there. “It’s going to save a huge amount in health care costs and will mean fewer heart attacks.”

Some trans fats occur naturally. The F.D.A. proposal only applies to those that are added to foods.

Public health advocates applauded the measure.

“Most of it is gone, but what remains is still a serious problem,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which petitioned the F.D.A. to require artificial trans fats to be listed on nutrition labels as early as 1994.

“I suspect there are thousands of smaller restaurants that continue to use it out of ignorance,” he said, adding that they ask: “\’Trans what?’ They just use whatever the supplier sends.”

But public awareness can be powerful. This summer Mr. Jacobson’s nonprofit group drew attention to the fact that the so-called Big Catch fried fish meal at Long John Silvers, which comes with fried hush puppies and fried potatoes, contained 33 grams of trans fat. The restaurant chain has since promised to eliminate trans fats by the end of the year.

via F.D.A. Moves to Ban Trans Fats, Citing Health Concerns –

Great article on good cooking oils…

4 Alternative Cooking Oils That Belong in Every Kitchen

It’s easier than you think for unhealthy trans fats to sneak into your menu, which is why these good fats are essential for healthier cooking


Past research has shown that women with heart disease are particularly susceptible to sudden cardiac death if they regularly consume trans fats in food. And a recent study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate the most trans fats had a 51 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who ate the lowest amounts.

Given all the bad press trans fats received a few years ago, you might have thought they were as out-of-vogue as smoking lounges or lead paint. However, “they’re definitely a big problem that people need to look out for,” says Trevor Holly Cates, ND, a naturopathic physician with a practice in the Golden Door Spa at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, and a board member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She pegs the problem to our love of processed foods, which rely on partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the number one source of trans fats) because they’re cheap and last so long. The problem of processed foods become exacerbated by the fact that the Food and Drug Administration legally allows manufacturers to say that a serving contains zero trans fats if the actual amount of trans fat doesn’t exceed 0.5 grams. That’s a quarter of what the American Heart Association recommends most Americans eat per day. So a lot of people are eating trans fats without realizing it, or while thinking that they’re eating trans-fat-free foods.

“Stay away from processed foods,” Cates says. “The more we process foods and alter them from what’s found in nature, the more problems we create.” Cates also argues that, when it comes to home cooking, we shouldn’t be replacing margarine and partially hydrogenated oils with regular vegetable oils, either. “Vegetable oils are made quickly and cheaply, and with the processing, it does change them so they’re not as beneficial,” she says. For instance, the heat and harsh chemicals used to extract oil from vegetables can destroy some of the vitamins and antioxidants that should make vegetable oils healthy. Plus, research has shown that overheating vegetable oils releases lung-damaging and potentially cancer-causing particulates into your kitchen.

Instead, Cates recommends you use healthier, less-processed cooking oils that can withstand high heats and have long shelf lives naturally. “A lot of oils are delicate and they oxidize quickly,” she says, either when heated to high temperatures or after they go rancid. “It’s important for people to know when that happens, because when an oil goes rancid, it can be more harmful than good.” The oxidation process creates alterations at the cellular level that can promote cancerous cell growth, she says.

“The foods you eat should be feeding you and providing nutrients,” she says. So if you want to get the most benefits from your cooking oils, rather than replace your harmful trans-fat oils with other potentially harmful vegetable oils, try one of these good fats instead:

#1: Grapeseed oil. Cates’ favorite cooking oil is grapeseed oil, an oil that probably isn’t familiar to most people. It’s popular in France and, Cates says, is great for sautéing, stir-frying, and other high-temperature cooking methods. “With other oils, high temperatures cause them to change molecular structure and oxidize,” she says. In addition, she says, grapeseed oil has been found to improve heart health: Animal studies have shown that rats fed grapeseed oil have lower levels of cholesterol than rats fed lard or soybean oil. Also, it’s high in protein and fiber. It has a light flavor, so it works well when you need a neutral-tasting oil to cook with.

#2: Coconut oil. Coconut oil has gotten a bad reputation because it’s has so much saturated fat, as much as 92 percent. “But there are a lot of health benefits that go beyond just what kind of fat it is,” Cates says. For instance, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a nutrient our bodies need to help our immune systems. One of the only other major dietary sources for lauric acid is breast milk. “But I’d only use a teaspoon,” she cautions. That way you get the health benefits without overdoing the fat. Coconut oil comes in a variety of forms, so you want to be sure you get the right kind. Extra-virgin centrifuged coconut oil has a light coconutty flavor, making it good for baking (if you want a little extra flavor in your cookies or cakes), whereas expeller-pressed coconut oil has no flavor at all and is a good substitute for butter or shortening. You can buy certified-organic coconut oil online from Wilderness Family Naturals.

#3: Ghee. “If people are trying to choose between a hydrogenated oil and butter, definitely go for butter,” Cates says. “We would be better off if we got back to using butter and less of these refined oils.” Ghee is essentially clarified butter, made by melting down butter until all the water evaporates and just the butter solids are left. The process concentrates the conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy cancer-fighter, found in butter. “When you clarify butter like that, it does seem to handle a higher temperature, as well,” Cates says, i.e. it becomes more stable and won’t oxidize when heated. The key to good ghee is making sure it’s organic. “When you’re talking about fats and dairy products, all the environmental toxins concentrate in the fat,” she says. Ghee, however, like coconut oil, is high in saturated fat, so use just a teaspoon when cooking. You can find organic, grass-fed ghee through Pure Indian Foods.

#4: Olive oil. There’s seemingly no end to the health benefits of olive oil. It’s good for your heart, high in healthy monounsaturated fats, and it just tastes good. But the healthiest high-quality, extra-virgin olive oils don’t handle heat well, so Cates recommends reserving them for salad dressings. Lower-quality refined olive oils that can withstand high heats (sometimes labeled “pure” or “extra light”) have been heavily processed using heat and chemicals, and contain as much as three times less of the polyphenols and antioxidants that make extra-virgin olive oil so healthy.

New York’s Trans-Fat Ban Is Working: Study – US News and World Report

New York’s Trans-Fat Ban Is Working: Study – US News and World Report.

New York City’s restriction on the use of trans fats in foods served at restaurants is helping Big Apple residents cut down on the unhealthy fat, a new study shows.

Researchers compared purchase receipts from fast food restaurants in 2007, before the ban went into effect, to those from 2009, after it went into effect.

Trans-fat intake decreased, said researcher Christine Curtis, director of nutrition strategy at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.