Looking Beyond “Trans Fat-Free”

If your son or daughter struggles with childhood obesity, reading food labels is an important part of making sure that they are getting the healthiest foods available. It is vital, however, that you read the nutritional facts on the back, and not just health claims on the front of the package.

If the label says “trans fat-free,” it still may not be a good option to include in your child’s medical weight loss program. Sometimes, when trans fats are removed from foods, they are replaced with equally harmful saturated fats. These saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Healthier oils still contain fat, and they add calories to food without adding nutrition. French fries or onion rings deep-fried in vegetable oil are still a high fat food. It’s really a matter of common sense over buzz words. A corn dog fried in lard may be trans fat-free, but it is not a healthy meal choice.

Also, just because a food is trans fat free does not mean that its general nutritional profile is healthy. These foods may have high amounts of sugar and provide inadequate amounts of necessary nutrition.

The next time that you and your child are in a Syracuse grocery store picking out foods, read the entire label to make sure that the foods you are looking at are healthy choices. Look for items that are low in fats and high in complex carbohydrates and protein. Make sure that there are plenty of fruits and vegetables in your cart to insure a balanced diet.