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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

In your face, TFAs!

Great news! In the next three years, the very foods that Americans love – the stuff of long, unpronounceable ingredient lists – are going to be a bit less toxic! You know, rereading that sentence actually doesn’t accurately describe that REALLY is good news. You don’t know what I am talking about? Perhaps you aren’t a nutrition-geek like me, so you haven’t heard: the FDA ruled that trans-fats are a no-no and must be removed from foods within the next three years. Trans-fatty acids are no longer considered to be ‘safe for human consumption.’ Folks, this is big! I’m always one to say that the less processed a food, the better, but I know that can’t always be the case. But TFAs are bad news, cardiovascularly-speaking, and the sooner get them out of our and our families’ diets, the better.

Having watched my husband’s eyes glaze over every time I mention cis- and trans-fatty acids, I won’t bore you with a topic I find to be quite interesting. Suffice it to say, Ma Nature makes cis- fatty acids, and humans/machines make the trans-fatty variety. Once in your system, the cis- version stacks up beautifully, making a nice neat pile, while the trans- variety is sticky and bulky and clogs up the arteries they flow through, causing all sorts of cardiovascular issues. Trans-fats = bad in this sense. High levels of trans-fatty acids in one’s diet can lead to a myriad of health issues such as caradiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and other potentially fatal ailments. In fact, the experts think removing TFAs from our diets will prevent 1 in 5 heart attacks and related deaths each year. This is huge! This ruling is a long time coming. The experts in these sorts of things have been pushing for this for years, but as with all nation-wide rulings, these things are slow to come about.

Friends, to risk sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat: the best diet for you and your family is one that includes a minimum amount of processed foods. Given an option, the shorter the ingredient list, the better the food choice. I know, I know, those prepackaged foods, and convenience items are so very handy, especially when you are rushing around trying to pack school lunches or get dinner on the table in a hurry. I know it is a lot easier to pop open a can of (insert food here) than it is to make it from scratch. I know this is true. I’m a mom with three school-aged kids, and I work, and I know how hard it is to finish all of those have-to-do-today tasks before you drop into bed. I know.

This is an aside, but related. TFAs were at one time the touted ‘healthier option’, and it took a while to see how much the opposite is true. In the same light and speaking of man-made foods-like items, have you ever read some of the descriptions of these fake sugars and fats? It doesn’t matter that it ‘comes from natural ingredients’. If it is going to pass through your body undigested (i.e. your body thinks it is a foreign object and not/not a food item), it probably shouldn’t be going in your mouth.

Best short-and-sweet food-related advice I can give you? Eat less sugar, salt and unpronounceable ingredients. Eat more veggies and fruits and whole grains. Eat fewer things that come in a box. Drink more water.

Ma Nature knew what she was doing when she created the human body: it is an amazing creation that can and will take care of itself if you treat it nicely. Your body has the mechanisms to grow and develop and do the most amazing things. Why would you fill it with things that aren’t also produced by Ma Nature? Yes, that very same amazing human body has an amazing capacity to think and create and invent, but that doesn’t mean what is being created and invented should be part of your diet. No foods are bad foods, but moderation, my friends, is key.

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