Top | Sift

Industrial fats

(article, Culinate staff)

We've known for several years now that trans fats — those shelf-stable, hydrogenated fats that keep processed foods from going rancid — are terrible for your heart. Now comes news that cholesterol levels in kids have dropped since trans fats got the boot a few years back.

As Tom Philpott noted on his Mother Jones blog, this is good news. But why, he asked, did it take so long — decades, by some estimates — for trans fats to get the heave-ho? Sure, Big Ag and Big Food had vested interests in keeping trans fats in our foods, but the American Heart Association also did nothing about them.

And why are the mysterious interesterified fats — the manufactured replacements for trans fats — not getting much in the way of questioning press? Philpott pointed out that interesterified fats may be yet another health problem waiting to happen.

Even if our cholesterol levels are going down, Philpott added, we're still eating too much sugar, which may account for our chronic difficulties with obesity.