As a dad as well as a chef, I care about what you put in your shopping cart. We all need to learn more about our food, and its impact on our health and our environment. When I’m at the grocery store, I often see people choose foods which they think are healthy for themselves and their children, but really contain unhealthy trans fats. I told Upstate New York’s New10 This Morning viewers how to find and avoid sneaky sources of trans fats.
A recent FDA ruling bans the use of partially hydrogenated oil in our foods. These oils are the primary source of heart-harming trans fats in our diets. Unfortunately, food manufacturers have until June 2018 to comply with this ruling. Health-conscious shoppers must read labels to ensure their foods do not contain trans fats. You can’t rely on a “zero trans fats” label.
Avoid foods which contain partially hydrogenated oils; emulsifiers such as diglycerides and monoglycerides; and common, refined canola, corn and soybean cooking oils.
Kids love peanut butter, so I used a jar of name-brand, low-fat peanut butter as an example in this TV segment. It contains hydrogenated oil. A better choice is Smart Balance Peanut Butter spread. This non-GMO product contains peanuts and Malaysian sustainable palm oil. It’s free of trans fats. And when you choose foods made with Malaysian palm oil, you are supporting a country which actively protects the environment and native wildlife habitats. Malaysia is committed to providing the world with a responsibly sourced and healthy oil.
Another example is frozen French fries. Many brands contain hydrogenated oils in addition to pre-cut potatoes. Instead of purchasing these unhealthy products, buy fresh potatoes. After boiling them and letting them cool, fry them with some Malaysian palm oil. This heat-stable and trans fat-free oil is an excellent source of brain- and heart-healthy vitamin E tocotrienols.
Chef Gerard Viverito, is an culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering.