Posted on Oct 23, 2023, 5 p.m.
The US FDA has issued a direct final ruling on the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food, saying that it is no longer generally recognized as safe, updating outdated references to PHOs in regulations. These actions are regarding the addition of artificial sources of trans fats; however, trans fat cannot be completely removed from the food supply as it occurs naturally in meat and dairy products, as well as in low levels in other edible oils.
The FDA constituent update states the direct final ruling:
- Revises regulations to no longer include PHOs as an optional ingredient in the standards of identity for peanut butter and canned tuna.
- Revises FDA GRAS affirmation regulations to no longer include partially hydrogenated forms of menhaden and rapeseed oils.
- Revokes the regulation for partially hydrogenated fish oil as an indirect food substance.
- Revokes pre-1958 authorization for using PHOs in margarine, shortening, and bread, rolls and buns. This authorization occurred before the enactment of the Food Additives Amendment of 1958 so these uses of PHOs could not be regulated as food additives.
Trans fats have now been banned from being used in any form in processed foods. Trans fats are superabundant in manufactured foods to enhance flavor because they are chemically safe and cheap ways to extend shelf life and boost profits, simply put. Removing the addition of trans fats from processed foods could lead to a significant decrease in the annual number of heart attacks because it is a well-established fact that the addition of trans fats has no health benefits and is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing a wide range of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, obesity, diabetes, allergic reactions, and certain cancers.
So how does this ruling affect your eating habits? Well, you will still be ingesting trans fats, it is pretty hard not to eat naturally occurring trans fats. For example, walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats, and even healthy fats can add up quickly but they are typically not as detrimental. Try to focus on healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are packed full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, and these choices have little fat.
To reduce unhealthy fats from your diet, look for plant-based oils, eat more fish, choose lean cuts of meat, don’t eat the skin on poultry, select low-fat dairy options, opt for whole fruits and vegetables for snack time, and limit your intake of processed foods that more than not contain copious amounts of saturated fats. The choices you make regarding what you put into your body can make a difference in how long you live but also in how happy and healthy those years are.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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