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PART 2: Foods that Contain Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol
Q: What is the daily trans fat intake of Americans?
A: FDA estimates that the average daily intake of trans fat in the U.S. population is about 5.8 grams or 2.6% of calories per day for individuals 20 years of age and older. On average, Americans consume approximately 4 to 5 times as much saturated fat as trans fat in their diet.
Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat can be found in some animal products, such as butter, milk products, cheese, beef, and lamb.
Estimates of the average trans fat intake of U.S. adults from food groups (e.g., cakes, cookies, shortening, etc.) are described in the economic analysis for FDA's final trans fatty acid labeling rule, Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims, and Health Claims published July 11, 2003 (68 FR 41434 at 41468-41470). FDA based its estimates on USDA's 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and on the special 1995 USDA database of trans fat content of selected foods.
Q: What foods contain saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol?
A: Saturated and trans fats can be found in some of the same foods, such as vegetable shortenings, some margarines (especially margarines that are harder), crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. High amounts of saturated fat are found in animal products, such as beef and pork, chicken skin, butter, whole milk, and cheese. Foods high in cholesterol include liver, other organs meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats.
It is important to choose foods with the lower combined amount of saturated fat and trans fat and the lower amount of cholesterol.
Q: Should trans fat be eliminated from the diet?
A: No. According to experts, eliminating trans fat completely from the diet would require such extraordinary dietary changes (e.g., elimination of foods, such as dairy products and meats that contain trans fatty acids) that eliminating trans fat could cause an inadequate intake of some nutrients and create health risks.
Q: What actions can consumers take to lower their intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol?
A: Here are some actions you can take every day to keep your consumption of both saturated and trans fats and cholesterol low while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.
· Check the Nutrition Facts panel to compare foods because the serving sizes are generally consistent in similar types of foods. Choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. For saturated fat and cholesterol, use the Quick Guide to %DV: 5%DV or less is low and 20%DV or more is high. (Remember, there is no %DV for trans fat.)
· Choose Alternative Fats. Replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These fats do not raise LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels and have health benefits when eaten in moderation. Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include soybean, corn, sunflower oils, and foods like nuts.
· Choose vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarines (liquid, tub, or spray) more often because the combined amount of saturated and trans fats is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarines, and animal fats, including butter.
· Consider Fish. Most fish are lower in saturated fat than meat. Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that are being studied to determine if they offer protection against heart disease.
· Limit foods high in cholesterol such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy products, like whole milk.
· Choose foods low in saturated fat such as fat free or 1% dairy products, lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, whole grain foods, and fruit and vegetables.
Q: Do dietary supplements contain trans fat?
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