Q: Im glad that trans fats are being removed from our food supply, but what are they being replaced with?
CAROLE J., RICHMOND, Va.
A: Youre right to ask what food manufacturers and bakers are going to use in place of them, because as trans fats proved, sometimes the substitute can be as bad as or worse than the original. This time around, fast-food restaurants, manufacturers of cookies, cakes, crackers and frozen breakfast products, and butter-substitute companies have come up with some (but not all) healthier alternatives.
Liquid oils: Deep-fry alternatives range from soybean to canola and sunflower oil or blends. These monounsaturated and polyunsaturated vegetable oils can help lower LDL. Canola is packed with healthful omega-3s, and some of these substitute oils even have healthful omega-7 and omega-9 fatty acids.
Off-the-shelf partially hydrogenated treats: In the past, snackin favorites used trans fats to keep them from spoiling. But it turns out replacing them with highly saturated palm and coconut oils works just as well. Those fats may be a bit better than trans fats (coconut oil may raise good HDL cholesterol), but our advice is read the labels and stay away from these oils too.
Solid oils: Manufacturers are switching to fully hydrogenated, fractionated (concentrating the saturated fats in them) and inter-esterifacted (molecular modification to improve texture) oils, instead of the old partially hydrogenated ones, because they solidify without producing trans fats.
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.