Food Labeling Infographics

Are you aware that if you buy a product sold as trans fat free, you could still be consuming a substantial amount of this unhealthy substance?

Deceptive labeling practices could lead to medically significant consumption of harmful trans fat, in spite of what is stated on FDA approved labels.

In fact, failure to identify high-risk foods could cause people to go over the recommended daily value of 1.11 grams of trans fat coming from processed food items and result in long term, adverse health side effects.

Trans fat consumption is a recognized public health concern. Leading health organizations recommend trans fats be consumed in limited quantities. Even so, existing FDA labeling policy keeps the public from being able to access the real quantity of trans fat found in food products.

Existing law makes it necessary that fat content in excess of 5 grams be stated in increments of 1 gram, under 5 grams be stated in increments of .5 gram, and less than .5 grams as having zero grams of fat.  Which means, if a product contains .49 grams of trans fat, the label could show the amount of trans fat as zero, and so hiding a substantial quantity of trans fat which could go over recommended limits and possibly result in a variety of adverse health effects.

Food Labeling Infographic

Consumption of trans fat has been associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. Because the recommended daily quantity of trans fat coming from processed food items is just 1.11 grams, an individual would only have to consume a small number of deceptively labeled trans fat food items to go over the recommended healthy intake.

As little as 3 deceptively labeled trans fat food items would exceed the recommended healthy intake; for instance, consuming 3 serving sizes each having .49 grams of trans fat would total 1.47 grams. In spite of what appears to be a small quantity of trans fat to ingest, studies have shown that an increase of daily consumption of trans fat from .9% to 2.1%, or from 2 to 4.67 grams, will result in an increase of an individual’s cardiovascular disease risk by 30%.

Food Labels Infographic

Image Source: ReuseThisBag

References: DOI:10.4278/ajhp.100603-CIT-174

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