According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, the food industry has made progress in reducing the trans fat content in its products since a 2003 labeling mandate by the Food and Drug Administration, but consumers should still read labels to be certain the products are trans fat-free.
The researchers sampled products at Minneapolis-area supermarket to assess levels of trans fat and saturated fat in margarines and butters; cookies and snack cakes; and savory snacks. The researchers also examined the cost of these now trans fat-free foods, because technologies to reduce or eliminate trans fat are costly and create challenges for food manufacturers that may be passed on to the consumer.
Most margarines and butters (21 of 29), cookies and snack cakes (34 of 44) and savory snacks (31 of 40) were labeled as containing zero grams of trans fat. However, some of the products contained significant amounts of trans fat.
The researchers conclude: "Consumers need to read product labels because the trans fat content of individual products can vary significantly. Products that are lower in trans and saturated fat tend to cost more, which may be a barrier to their purchase for price-conscious consumers."
This research was published in the February 2008 issue of the Journal Of The American Dietetic Association.
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