New Year Calls For New Food Labels

By: Erica Dao
By: Erica Dao

Word on the street is trans-fat is every junk food-eaters enemy.
"We know that trans-fats can increase our LDL or bad cholesterol and decrease ourHDL, our good cholesterol," said Betsy Fish, a registered dietitian at Sacred Heart Hospital.
Dietitians say high levels of trans-fat in the diet can lead to heart disease. It's found in animal-based and processed foods such as margarine and cake.
When 2006 rolls around, the food and drug administration will require all packaged foods with a half-a-gram or more of trans-fat per serving be listed on the nutrition label.
So some foods may not list trans-fat, but registered dietitian Besty Fish says that doesn't mean it isn't in there.
"If a food product has less than a half-a-gram of trans-fat per serving, a food company can say it's trans-fat free."
Major chains like McDonald?s will soon start including nutrition labels on their packaging, making it easier for you to know what you're eating. But independent restaurants may have a hard time keeping up with the health conscious trend.
"These people do not have the resources as a group to be able to generate the kind of factual knowledge that you might see on a can of soup in a grocery store," said Al Lump, president of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.
Fish says companies can substitute trans-fat with even more saturated fat, leading to a gram or two more of fat per serving.
So the best thing to do is cut down on highly processed foods.
"Exercise. Keep your intake of saturated fats down. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables," said Fish.
Despite the new labeling, dietitians recommend always reading the ingredients list to know what exactly is going into your body

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