“FDA Bans Hydrogenated Trans Fats”

14 11 2018

Be sure to eat healthy and get your daily walk exercise on. It does a body good.

Updated:  14 Nov 2018, Marc Woodard

In order to understand how unhealthy Trans Fats are it is necessary to first define and relate to them and how this unhealthy fat got into our food in the first place.  And why the FDA agrees it’s not fit for human consumption.

Hydrogenated Trans fats were invented in the 1890s.  What took the FDA so long to put a ban on the hydrogenation of vegetable oils?  And even with a ban does this keep Trans Fats out of our diet?

Much of the hydrogenated Trans Fat story has to do with low product cost and hyper palatable fat that addict consumers to purchase those products repeatedly. Which in turn generates huge profits for the food processing companies.  These basic facts explain the longevity of Trans Fats in the marketplace.

The FDA ban of trans fats occurred after decades of studying the effects of it on human health.

“Although saturated fat is the main dietary culprit that raises LDL (Low Density LipoProtein), added Trans Fat and dietary cholesterol also contribute significantly to increased LDL’s [which represent unhealthy blood chemistry and related cause to cardiovascular disease].  Trans fat can often be found in processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as vegetable shortenings, some margarines (especially margarines that are harder), crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, and baked goods (FDA 2017).”

In the past consumers sought low cost, tasty and convenient processed foods and praised the hydrogenation process because of cost and exceptional flavor. But now the FDA agrees with consumer safety advocates – banning this fat completely over the next few years would be best for consumer health and health care industry.

To learn why the FDA is now taking action it is necessary to define Trans Fats, hydrogenation, poly hydrogenated oil and how this man made fat causes disease.

Adding more hydrogen to oil is simply the process of man infusing more hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation) to a vegetable oil(s) mono-poly unsaturated fatty carbon molecule chain.  The vegetable oil than becomes a “Partially” or fully hydrogenated (fat saturated) “Trans Fat.”  i.e., Listed on food labels as Partial hydrogenated and/or Trans Fats are the same thing of varying atomic degree. 

But not obvious to most consumers…  through hydrogenation the oil becomes a more solid Trans hard fat that’s very unhealthy for us.  That is vegetable oils are artificially hardened to achieve “firm” convenience soft spreads with long shelf life e.g., margarine, cooking oils and shortening.

To identify Trans Fats in food products, manufacturers list these values on ingredient labels.  Note the words Partially Hydrogenated soybean Oil (PHO) on margarine and butter labels below.  This is code for Trans Fats. You can find PHO listed as an ingredient in many snack, dessert foods, vegetable oils and even health supplemental products, etc.   And when you see 0g Trans Fats on the label, food manufacturers are allowed up to .5grams Trans Fats per serving and can list this value as zero while simultaneously displaying PHO.

The good news for consumers as previously stated, the FDA now requires food manufactures to follow more stringent Trans Fat label laws.  For instance if a food product has .5g Trans Fats or more, that value has to be listed on the label (FDA 2017).

This means all Trans Fats in foods must be identified.  Even if the words Trans Fat equals 0 grams, the food product is allowed up to .499grams per serving when PHO is listed.  Many don’t know Trans Fats are also in organic wholefoods.  Ever wonder how they get into animal and vegetable products?

Live stock graze on vegetation which contain a certain amount of poly unsaturated oil in them.  Through animal grazing PHO’s (Poly Unsaturated Oil) are digested and some of this oil is stored in saturated fat cells.  Hence all products have varying amounts of naturally stored PHO or Trans Fats in them.  Just like humans.

Unlike organic dietary fats, hydrogenated Trans fats are not essential to the diet and significantly increase health risk when consuming too many of them.

I know conscientious consumers remove animal fat before eating a steak, or  ladle the fat from broth to reduce fat intake calories.  This is easy to do because it is easily seen.  However Tran’s fats blend into processed baked and convenience foods and can’t be seen or removed.  This is why it’s important to understand where Trans Fats come from and how to identify them in the foods eaten daily.   This knowledge becomes even more important if you now suffer from obesity, diabetes or heart disease.

Over consumption of fatty foods in general is bad.  But far worse when too many deceptive Trans-fats are mixed into baked goods.

In the past hydrogenation of cooking oils was used excessively by food industries until it was determined Tran’s fats were worse for you than natural occurring organic fats.  Early 2006, companies began removing the Trans fat hydrogenation processes from foods and labeling “0” amounts of Trans Fats as required by the FDA.  But as you now know “0” does not mean “0 Trans Fats and there a connection to organic food PHO chemistry.

In 2015 the “U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS for use in human food.  Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products (FDA 2015).”

Even through the FDA recently determined Trans Fats are not safe for humans the end to manmade Trans Fats won’t end until 2017-18…  this will not ban all Trans Fats from all foods because of the natural occurring PHO found in livestock and plants.  But food manufacturers will be required to continue listing Trans Fats, mono-poly and saturated fat values.

Is this a win for everyone?  I guess it depends on individual and company perspective.

For the health conscious consumer and those suffering from obesity, diabetes and other related illness and disease these changes could be of great dietary health benefit.  For those on fixed and low incomes it may cost more and limit choice of healthy foods in the marketplace.  For a manufacturer it may increase the cost of doing business.  Unfortunately his increase in cost is usually passed onto the consumer.

There will be winners and losers no matter how you look at this thing.


US Department of Health and Human Resources. FDA Food and Drug Administration (FDA 2015-2017).

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2018 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Net Weight Loss and Zero Gain Plan

24 06 2015
Low intensity aerobic exercise burns body fat calories

Low intensity aerobic exercise burns body fat calories

Updated: June 25, 2015

A weight management program often includes counting calories which helps record, or target a net zero weight gain or weight loss approach. Food nutrition data and calorie handbooks are easily found on the Internet and within bookstores and libraries.

Understanding how total calories increase, decrease or sustain healthy body weight can also lead to achieving other fitness goals. Such as increased cardio-muscular endurance capacity, flexibility, and strength and reduced body fat. Once you see the example I lay out below you’ll understand why so many depend on the use of calorie counting to achieve weight loss goals. And how marketers apply this knowledge to sell fast weight loss services and products that work short term, but cause weight gain in the long run.

To make my point I’m going to kill 3 birds with one stone. 1) Show how to count calories of a favorite food. 2) Why balanced food macro and micronutrients are important. 3) How improper use of this knowledge can break metabolism and cause illness and disease.

Now for our imbalanced diet plan approach. If a weight loss plan is composed mostly of protein and lacks essential fats and carbohydrates the metabolism will be starved one way or the other of macronutrients and the person will revert back to old dietary habits at some point in time. If this pattern continues, then obsessive diet practices become cyclical and so does body weight. This yo-yo effect on the metabolism after a period of time has proven to cause illness and disease [cardiovascular, diabetes, mental and immune disorders, etc.].

Next I illustrate the worst way you could plan weight loss using calorie count by creating, or buying into a restrictive or favorite food plan to lose weight in 30 days. And why this practice is bad for health.

Since I love cheese burgers, I’m creating a favorite cheese burger diet and calculating the calories to see how many burgers I can eat in a day and still lose weight. Whereas the beverage of choice is water and plan is set for a 30 day window. Now let’s calculate calories and effect on body weight.

Oaked Fired Burgers are a Family Favorite

Oaked Fired Burgers are a Family Favorite

For those that don’t recall 3500 calories equal approximately 1 pound.

The total calories in a Quarter Pounder with cheese…“I know you hate the math, but here it is…”

[30g fat (9cals/gram) =270cal, 28g Carbohydrate (4cals/g) =152cal, and 27g Protein (4 cals/g) =108cal]  = ~530cals/ Total Quarter Pounder Calories

If a weight loss plan is designed around any dietary food strategy then you also need to know how many calories a day the average man and woman require to sustain life and get work done. For the sake of argument and more calculations, I’ve already averaged out the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) + RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) x EER (Estimated Energy Requirement) factor = TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and spared the tedious calculations.

I calculate the daily calorie requirement for men and women of aver BMR, weight, age, rest, work and exercise:  Women require ~1700 cal/day and men require ~2500 cal/day.

If these caloric estimates were accurate and you ate 3 or 4 quarter pounders with cheese at 530cal each, this would limit the average woman and man’s daily burger intake to ~3 and 4 cheeseburgers/day. However, the reality of caloric intake and caloric burn metabolism is not that simple as there’s other metabolic variables at play. As noted there are varying metabolic requirements to sustain life and get work done, i.e., BMR (EER) +RMR = TDEE. There are also differences in individual daily exercise activities [intensity of effort, duration and frequency of tasks], sleep cycle,

8 hours of sleep is a habit that revitalizes, recharges and keeps us healthy

8 hours of sleep is a habit that revitalizes, recharges and keeps us healthy.

daily rest cycles, genetics, environment, medical history, etc. I’ve simply made the math easy to make multiple dietary teaching points. Mostly to show how a favorite or restrictive food strategy to lose weight serves as a disadvantage to health long term.

Now back to the favorite food plan. The total calories found in our favorite food less the Total Daily Energy Expenditure if followed for 30 days will cause a daily net caloric loss and decreased body weight.

Whereas: 530calories per cheese burger x 4 = 2120 total calories. 2120 burger calories/day – 2500 caloric daily requirement (male) presents less then net zero sustained body weight by (380) calories/day. This represents (11,400) calorie loss in 30 days, or 3.25lbs solid weight loss in 1 month. Although this may not see like a lot, it’s a working weight loss concept that can provide 5 to 10 times that loss dependent on individual multiple factor differences.

Sounds great eh!  You could lose weight this way right!  Actually you could. But the thing you first notice is the lack of macronutrient food group variety and balanced micronutrients. This nutrient imbalance wouldn’t keep the brain, body and spirit satisfied for long. When calorie nutrient imbalances limit or restrict metabolic energy exchange needed to get work done; and cellular health maintenance, then the body and mind begin to feel sick and depressed.

Although the combined protein intake looks okay at 20% [~15% protein is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Macronutrient recommended daily average]; the other two macronutrients don’t fare so well.

Macronutrient Protein develops and repairs muscle.

Macronutrient Protein develops and repairs muscle.

Dietary fats in this favorite foods plan is around 51% [~30% fats is the USDA Macronutrient recommended daily average with a mix of saturated and mono/poly unsaturated fats].

Carbohydrate percentage in this favorite food plan is approximately 29% [~55% carbohydrates is the USDA Macronutrient recommended daily average]. At face value, you see there’s little macronutrient and also micronutrient balance in vitamin, mineral and fiber [not calculated in this example].

“I know some of you are thinking perfect,” I’ll just eat 2-4 burgers, pizza, cake, hotdogs, etc., a day to lose weight because Marc showed me how to eat my favorite foods to lose weight. Although the information presented may help you lose weight in the short term I didn’t say it would be healthy, sustainable or advisable. I merely painted one example out of many marketers and individuals have used to sell and create weight loss plans that ultimately put consumers in a hurt locker. It doesn’t matter how you limit or restrict calories to lose weight. When it’s not a natural and balanced approach the diet plan fails at the expense of short term weight loss and almost always causes long term weight gain.

Every diet plan offered in the marketplace no matter how good it looks or appears to work for others, if it doesn’t involve changing habits and behaviors then the weight will come back. This favorite food strategy is no different than eating fresh sandwiches at every meal, every day. Even this seemingly healthy diet strategy fails in the long run on multiple cultural, social, environment and nutrient fronts. Again, if you’ve not learned to change habits and behaviors that incorporate a variety of balanced eating and daily exercise habits then the body’s rejection of these imbalances let you know one way or the other. And when applied long term has insidious effect on metabolism, other bodily and cellular function and brain health.

There is nothing manmade including weight loss plans and services that improve upon God’s natural worldly order.

Balance in perfect harmony cannot be improved upon by man.

Balance in perfect harmony cannot be improved upon by man.

Where our holistic being is dependent upon balanced organic diet, exercise activity, and work in stress free environment. These balances per God’s design when applied as intended supports healthy body weight, fitness levels and living life to the fullest while mitigating illness and disease.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2007-15 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.

Weight Loss Consulting Greatest Challenges

23 03 2015
Exercise Activity Alleviates Pain

Today I walked 8 miles for low impact aerobic benefit and stopped into local gym to run through a 30 minute strength and flexibility routine. Fall 2014. My wife said I need to smile more. That’s a tough thing to do when taking your own selfie;]

MirrorAthlete® Original Publication: Feb 7, 2008, Updated:  March 23, 2015

I’ve worked with many clients throughout the years who had unrealistic weight loss expectations and were willing to risk their health to achieve the goal no matter the cost. When clients came in desperate to lose weight they were my greatest challenge as a fitness and health consultant.

A percentage of those overweight tended to ask questions about fast weight loss dieting techniques that also included diet pills. I often found myself working to convince them that slow and steady was the healthier and sustainable course rather than fast and furious. However, I had to be mindful of the “I want it now” mentality and sensitive to their particular situation. I didn’t immediately try to sell them on a healthy lifestyle.

These client types needed to first understand the risks and reward to make an informed decision should they decide to apply a fast weight loss program. I always made it clear, I would not recommend or sell any product or service that compromised my fitness values, ethics, principles or their health. They definitely understood upfront their health and safety was a number one priority. Then they could decide if the services and programs I offered were right for them.

For those who’ve used diet pills to control appetite, or have sought surgical procedure or invested hundreds in diet programs and supplements brought about interesting discussions to say the least. As if my job was to lead them to the next fad weight loss or fitness programming fountain of youth secret [In other words, “just sell me a pill or magic potion and send me on my way”].

As a former full time fitness consultant, I have to tell you, it’s this type of client mentality and workload that become “the” burnout factor within this profession for me. People’s bad habits and behaviors once set on certain lifestyle and preferences within environment become very difficult at times to work with.   And to tell you the truth is why I retired from taking on clients full time. Let me be clear, all clients are not like this, I had some very good times, experiences and satisfaction as a 1:1 trainer/consultant. However, after going through hundreds of client consultations, a good percentage wanted what they wanted, when the wanted it. Some just wanted a quick fix and didn’t want the dose of reality and hard work it takes to get there. We’ll that was the challenge and burnout factor over time.

I’ve often resisted the temptation to set clients straight immediately on behavioral and habit lifestyle change during initial consults. They needed time to talk to someone about their battle of the bulge and process their next step. They also needed time to question or convince me to provide popular weight loss, muscle growth, toning or fad diets and why or why not I would, or won’t recommend or provide these products and services.

I heard things like, “yah, but I know this guy who took this natural herbal steroid, dropped 30lbs of fat and gained 10 lbs. of muscle in one month. And is having the best sex of his life.”  Or, this diet pill is amazing, no more hunger and the weight melted away like butter… Can you offer the same product? ‘Or, what do you think about xyz diet plan? ‘Linda lost 14 pounds in two weeks on this stuff, can you hook me up? ‘Oh yes, let’s not forget the most obvious, can you get me some steroids? ‘Don’t know how many times I heard that one.”

“Yes, I’d love to make a ton of money at the expense of your health. Not!”

And so many other like stories I had to get creative in how I responded to each one without chuckling, or resist saying something unprofessional. The insanity of it all, how little consumers and our children know so little about their bodies [education on such matters should be a criteria starting day one]. I’ve had many conversations with my wife about these very topics. People place greater value on personal possessions than their own bodies. “It’s what they trade off for instant gratification that harms them in the long run.” As a fitness-health educator, I felt a moral obligation to help steer clients to see how healthy lifestyle choice and change would ultimately lead them to sustain a set fitness goal once achieved.

What do you think was my number one fitness goal and program females wanted? You guessed it, weight loss. And many of them were interested in diet pills, diet meal replacement and high intensity aerobics exercise programming. I simply mentioned as a matter of fact, “over the counter diet pills and restrictive meal practices are dangerous because they are very effective at reducing unwanted body weight.’

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

“And if intensity of aerobic exercise is too high, instead of losing body fat, you may gain weight [reference: Target Heart Rate (THR)].” Then I have their attention and opportunity to tell them the rest of the story.

“Manmade solutions are not natural to the organic body and will ultimately harm it.” And when the client talks about natural herbs used to suppress appetite, or increase sexual performance I state, “even high concentrates or doses of herbs engineered by man to stimulate a metabolic or hormonal response is not natural to the body because mother earth didn’t design it this way.” Only under a medical doctors supervision should these practices be applied.

“Any organic edible manipulated and engineered by man and consumed to achieve a quick physical change or performance result is not of earth’s natural order. And in the long run cause permanent harm to long term health should this habit continue to repeat itself.” [MirrorAthlete® principled fitness philosophy].

    In the short term you may lose weight fast. But long term you may break your metabolism and fat burning furnace. And then later may cause adult onset diabetes and/or circulatory disease.

Here is a good point and case. It is a fact too many young American women use Diet Pills as a convenient and quick weight loss solution. And coincidently has shown to have a negative effect on behavior and health. So the question becomes, why aren’t they restricted from the general marketplace and prescribed only through medical treatment.

First let’s start with our marketplace and its influence and impact on young and impressionable minds.  The Hollywood glamour, fashion and fitness industries brainwash us at young ages into what we need and value to be successful in life. And one of those highly prized values is placed on how we appear.

Pure and simple, by conditioning our behavioral habits at a young age we become dependent on the products we need and want to meet ours and others expectations. Products like diet pills are in high demand and remain readily available for purchase. Weight loss and fitness enhancement products retain their placement for purchase because we the consumer-voter allows and demand these products.   Powerful industrial lobbyists, marketers, special interest groups, consumer safety advocates, Federal Food and Drug administration, Health and Human Serves, etc., balance out national consumer policies of what’s deemed safe, valued and in-demand by industries, marketers and consumer.

The same is true of the cultural-marketplace in telling us how to fix ourselves when we become overweight and obese. And because of our culture we as a nation are getting fatter? In order to highlight this point simply requires one to become knowledgeable of some consumer, scientific and research facts. By just reviewing a few highlights it’s easy to see how our bodies receive on average too many food chemicals and other environmental oxidants or toxins that have an effect on our bodies DNA structure [DNA mutation]; immune and metabolic systems. This toxic effect is “first” fattening up America’s children where a direct connection and relationship to serious illness and disease is on the rise.

Two good relational cause and effect points to make:

There were over 4 million distinct chemical compounds introduced into our food chain from 1965 – 1982, and more than 250,000 added since then. So one must factor in how much processed foods and supplemental dietary toxins should be consumed in a day? Including suppressants or stimulates to make us thin, musclebound, performance enhanced or fat? The answer, nobody really knows how much chemical toxin or oxidant exposure of whatever will cause a medical condition for any one individual.

Also diet pills and abnormal diet loss behavior trends among the young is on the rise. For example, use among high school girls nearly doubled from 7.5% to 14.2%.  21.9% of teenage females used diet pills, laxatives, vomiting or skipping meals as a weight control behavior [2007 compiled data]. The longer this behavior continued the greater the likelihood health would be impacted at some point in time, then lead to other dangerous behavior.

Aside from processed-convenience foods and dietary supplements, etc., should we also be concerned about air and water quality? After all, air pollution and potable water have chemical oxidant stressors in them that are absorbed by our bodies. How many of these cellular stressors can our bodies tolerate daily? Unfortunately every trainer/consultant has varying educational levels, values and life philosophies on such things. And some are less scrupulous than others for sake of making a buck.

I realize there are more questions than answers when choosing a fitness trainer or consultant to help you achieve your fitness goal [weight loss, physical performance, toning, muscle mass, etc.]. However, maybe I can offer the following advice. It’s always been my contention anything manmade with unnatural chemicals added to it is not compatible in the long run with the organic being.

Aerobics over the weekend in new and exciting places.  Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

Aerobics over the weekend in new and exciting places. Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

And there is a benefit to aging gracefully. This should tell you I believe in age appropriate and balanced exercise, behavioral habits, diet and lifestyle.

When we’re not educated to value healthy lifestyle and ill-health prevention at an early age, unhealthy living is often the result as adults. Then these lifestyle values will likely be passed onto future generations.

Does the marketplace control your habits and behavior or do you?

This may be easy to acknowledge simply by identifying one of the following questions. Are you and your children attracted to instant gratification through sight, sound, smell and touch [I want it now behavior]?  Are you addicted to any fast, convenience or junk foods you must have daily or weekly?  Have you sought out a quick fix for an overweight problem lately? Have you participated in any restrictive diets or low caloric meals, shakes or taken weight loss suppression supplements, diet pills or performance enhancers in the last year and/or with some frequency?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is more likely than not the marketplace has control over your habits and lifestyle. And like a habitual smoker or drinker, if these applied practices are not modified, changed or stopped, eventually may cause serious illness and disease.

Working in OfficeThese days I find it easier and less stressful to write about fitness, healthy lifestyle and nutrition and update each publication within our MirrorAthlete® Fitness Secrets site page. Then these teaching points can be shared by anyone interested in learning about them from a consultant’s view point. This way the fitness, health, nutrition and consumer safety messages can be shared by many and passed along to others as opposed to helping one client at a time.

The answers and solutions you need to preserve your good health are dependent upon your understanding of the organic body’s needs within cultural environment to live a long, productive and healthy lifestyle. Don’t let the market hype put you into a weight gain and depression spiral. Let MirrorAthlete® principled fitness philosophy guide you toward good health, happiness and safe weight loss.

Recommended Reading – MirrorAthlete® Publications.

Aspartame the Silent Killer, MirrorAthlete® publications, Feb 22, 2015. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/?p=21

A Permanent Solution to Control Body Weight. MirrorAthlete® publication, Jan 24, 2015. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/?p=4

 MirrorAthlete® 1st Commercial Book Publication, Powerful Principled Fitness Philosophy. MirrorAthlete® publication, July 17, 2014. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/?p=1671

 Get Skinny by Activating Addictive Body Chemicals. MirrorAthlete® publication. Nov 11, 2014. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/?p=62

Also visit our “Home Site” and “Like” our FB Fitness Secrets page.  Get involved and get answers to all your fitness, nutrition and health questions and concerns. At the home site check out our first book publication release date and be sure to get this valued fitness consultant addition. It guarantees not to disappoint.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, MSC Officer, CPT, Ret.  2015 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete® Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.