Monday, March 12, 2007

Uh-oh: Butter is evil again

Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim - New York Times

Remember how we call used to eat margarine, because it was deemed to be more healthy than butter? And then we discovered trans-fats, and margarine became the adversary. Well, now butter is back in the food paranoists sights - one quarter pound of butter contains 3.12 grams of naturally occurring trans fats. Researchers aren't sure, but think that naturally occurring trans fats don't have the negative health effects that artificially created ones do. But big companies, like Starbucks, don't want to have to explain all that to their customers, and FDA labeling states that "if a product has a half a gram or more of trans fat per serving, the amount has to go on the food label and the food can’t be called trans fat-free, even if butter is the only fat." So...

...wholesale bakers are being forced to substitute processed fats like palm oil and margarine for good old-fashioned butter because of the small amounts of natural trans fat butter contains.
Changing ingredients isn't the only strategy:
Sometimes the change means eliminating butter or other dairy products that register trans fat; other times it means reducing portion sizes so nutritional analysis shows that, for example, a cookie has less than half a gram of trans fat per serving.
And butter is only the beginning. Ground beef: 1.33 grams per quarter lb. Brie: 1.12 grams per quarter lb. Cup of milk: .24 grams. According to the article, meat purveyors are already getting nervous as more and more places push trans fat bans.

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