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Trans Fats

Jan. 9, 2008

by Leo Rodriguez

Trans fats: what Little Debbie snack cakes, French fries, and that delicious steak at Peter Luger all have in common.

Thanks to recent media attention, most people know that these harmful fats come from partially hydrogenated oils, but did you know that trans fats are also found in nature–specifically, in dairy products and some meat?

From this you might infer that Grandma’s shortbread cookies are little
deathtraps, but natural trans fats are not necessarily identical to
industrial trans fats. Most researchers agree that our body probably handles them differently because we’ve been ingesting them for quite some time. Some think they might even be beneficial to us. Meaning, maybe you can enjoy that shortbread just a little more.

Though none of the research is conclusive, we get most of our trans fats
from fast and processed foods anyway. A tablespoon of butter, for example, has between 0.30 and 0.39 grams of trans fat. In 2006, an order of McDonald’s French fries was found to have a whopping 8 grams, more than four times what experts recommend as a maximum.

Real food trumps laboratory potatoes. Again.

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