Do you absolutely love doughnuts, ready-to-bake biscuits and cinnamon rolls, crackers, microwaveable popcorn, frozen pizza, coffee creamers and canned frosting? Well get ready to see a change in these products and more.
Why? Because U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced it will significantly limit and, more or less, ban manufacturers from using one of the main ingredients that give these foods their texture and taste.
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What Exactly Are Trans Fats?
Trans fats are a byproduct of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) that form when hydrogen gas is bubbled through oil. PHOs were developed in the 1950s for use by cooking manufacturers who found that these oils also increased the shelf life of processed foods.
Since then, researchers have linked both PHOs and trans fats to serious health problems, such as high cholesterol, plaque buildup in the arteries and coronary heart disease. Because of these studies, FDA researchers issued what’s called a Federal Register notice. This alert determined that these additives are no longer “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. (If substances fall under this designation, they’re allowed to skirt premarket review and approval by the FDA.)
The agency gave the public, along with scientists and other health and nutrition experts, 60 days to comment on its decision. If after that time, the agency still considers PHOs unsafe, the FDA will require manufacturers to get its specific approval before putting these oils in foods. Essentially, this procedure would effectively remove foods containing trans fats from U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores.