Wendy’s is the first among all fast food chains to drop trans fat
Wendy’s is the first fast food chain to make a complete switch to trans-fat free cooking oil in their restaurants. Wendy’s made the trans fat free cooking oil announcement on August 24, 2006. The new soy and corn oil blend used in Wendy’s cooking only not only offers zero grams of trans fat, but also a significant reduction in saturated fat (another kind of bad fat). Reduction in trans fat and saturated fat is a major diet change one can take in prevention of heart disease.
Fast foods and trans fat link
One of the major source of trans fat in the North American diet comes from fried foods from fast food chains. In mid-June, KFC was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) over their extensive use of frying oil containing trans fat. CSPI claimed that a three-piece meal at KFC contains a startling 15 grams of trans fat. Trans fat raises bad LDL cholesterol and lowers good HDL cholesterol. Research shows that eating just five grams a day raises the risk of heart disease by 25 percent. In June 2006, a new recommendation made by American Heart Association is to limit trans fat to less than one percent of total calories. For an average adult consuming a 2,000 kcal diet, that means no more than two grams of trans fat a day!
Indeed, another food manufacturer has also made a healthy move in the food production. In 2003, Frito-Lay successfully eliminated trans fat in all their snack chips. In May 2006, they announced a switch to heart-healthy sunflower oil, effectively reduced the saturated fat content in their chips by 50 percent.
Other corporate food manufacturers such as Kraft and Kellogg’s have announced their plans to replace certain vegetable oils in their production to reduce trans fat content. However, they did not completely eliminate it. Despite that their products may show 0 grams of trans fat, many of their products still contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
The Bottom Line
To effectively reduce trans fat and saturated fat intake in your diet:
- Use liquid vegetable cooking oil in home cooking.
- Use cooking methods with little or no oil; limit deep frying at home.
- Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
- When dining out, order dishes prepared with little oil or sauce.
- Always read the Nutrition Facts label when comparing products; check out information about fat content, saturated fats and trans fat in particular.
- Check the ingredient list and look out for ingredients such as hydrogenated oil (high in trans fat) as well as coconut and palm oil (high in saturated fats).
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.