Men and Trans Fats: How to Cut Back on the Heart-Clogging Ingredient
There’s no doubt that trans fats are bad for you. They raise LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, lower HDL, a.k.a. “good” cholesterol, and put you at higher risk for heart disease. On top of that, research has shown that there’s a link between eating trans fat-containing foods and obesity, stroke and diabetes.
While it’s important for everyone to cut back on their trans fat intake, it can be especially tough for men to avoid trans fat-filled foods. Men are decreasing their trans fat intake slower than women and eat more of it in a day.
Why might it be harder for men to give up trans-fat foods? One reason might be that so-called “manly” foods like bacon cheeseburgers and French fries happen to be high in the stuff. With that said, here are some tips everyone can follow to cut down on these foods:
Instead of deep-frying foods like fries, doughnuts and fried chicken…try pan-searing or pan-frying. The ideal method would be to bake, steam, grill or broil your food, but this way you can still get that crispy texture you like without totally immersing a food in hydrogenated oils.
Instead of buying packaged pastries and desserts…make your own! When you bake something yourself, you skip out on the trans fats that are often in the boxed varieties found on grocery store shelves. Just make sure to do it from scratch—cake mixes and frozen cookie dough might have trans fats as well.
Instead of bagged chips and buttery microwave popcorn…snack on foods that contain healthier fats, like almonds, sunflower seeds, olives and avocados. If you really want popcorn, buy the unflavored kind and add your own olive oil and salt.
The simplest way to stop bringing trans fats into your home is to check the ingredient list and make sure you don’t see “partially hydrogenated oil” on it. It’s important to know that a nutrition label can say a food is trans fat-free if it contains less than .5 grams per serving (an amount that experts still say is dangerous).
One other note: It can be tough to avoid trans fats in restaurants because many places still use partially hydrogenated oils in their fryers. If you really want those mozzarella sticks, ask your server or the manager if the restaurant uses trans fat-free oils.
For even more help avoiding trans fats, check out these blogs:
- Healthier Game-Day Snacks
- 4 Healthy Alternatives to Flavored Coffee Creamers
- Win by Losing: Kale Chips Recipe
Photo credit: punctuated