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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pound-for-Pound Return of Speakeasies

Prohibition may return, and Chicago may be the first to feel its effects. But this ban is on something even greasier than Al Capone: trans fat.

Chicago City Councilman Edward Burke is turning up the heat to make it illegal for restaurants to use oils that contain trans fats, which have been tied to a string of health problems, the biggest one being coronary heart disease.

Per my recent post about diabetes and minerals, the quality of what you eat affects not only your digestive system, but your entire body system and overall health.

Consuming trans fat is a prime example. Trans fat raises your LDL cholesterol, which increases your risk for coronary heart disease, clogged arteries, and heart attacks. It’s also known to focus weight gain around the waistline.

Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. It’s then used to make vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, fast foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

But luck is on your side: Beginning this year, the FDA requires that nutrition labels list trans fat content. Compare how your choices in fats stack up, and find out just how much trans fat you are consuming.

Also, start reading nutrition labels, and try to consume as little trans fat as possible. Instead, use vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil.

That way, nothing’s prohibiting you from enjoying good-tasting food that good for you, too.

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