Q: My moms been baking with vegetable shortening for decades. Now I hear that this kind of fat is being banned. Why would they do that to her pie crust after all this time?
ANNIE B., New York
A: Youre right, Annie, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it wants to get trans fats out of the American diet. Youre also right that moms like yours (and prepared-food manufacturers) have been making pie crusts, cakes and cookies with partially hydrogenated oils, which is what trans fats are, ever since the vegetable shortening Crisco was introduced in 1911.
But in the past 20 years, theres been a lot of research on the dangers of trans fats, and major health organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, say its not smart to consume ANY. We agree. Weve both spent countless hours trying to combat the bodily damage that trans fats cause. Dr. Oz has seen what they do to his cardiac patients on a daily basis, and for years Dr. Mike at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center has dealt with obesity-related problems that come in part from a prevalence of trans fats in food.
We all should be glad the FDA has taken this step. But banning trans fats will take awhile; were in a 60-day review period, and if the FDA does act, it may take two to five years to phase trans fats out. So, until theyre gone, watch out for partially hydrogenated oils on ingredient lists and trans fats on labels.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.