Dubuque food experts react to FDA trans fat decision - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque food experts react to FDA trans fat decision

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration took the first step towards potentially cutting most trans-fats from our food supply. Trans-fats are most commonly found in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. The trans fats improve the texture, shelf life, and flavor of the foods. But those fats can also raise levels of "bad" cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid. This is also the reason why trans fat is commonly refereed to as partially hydrogenated oils.

Many manufacturers have already worked on getting rid of many of these trans fats in their foods. Those trans fats as they would be to difficult to remove and aren't considered a major public health threat on their own.

Amber Jaeger is a Dietitian at a Hy-Vee in Dubuque.

"Trans fats can increase our bad cholesterol levels that we want to try to keep low," Jaeger said. "a lot of us do consume a lot of processed items in our diet. So trying to keep trans fat intakes to a minimum will help reduce that increase to our "bad" cholesterol and try to reduce our risk for heart disease."

Small amounts of trans fats do occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, but the FDA says they are not targeting. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Americans are already eating fewer foods with trans fat.

The trans fat intake among Americans has declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to around 1 gram in 2012. Agency officials say they have been working on trans fat issues for around 15 years. They say they have been collecting data to justify a possible phase out since just after President Barack Obama came into office in 2009.

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