Random Food Fact #132 – Trans Fats are Solid at Room Temperature

A few weekends ago, company came over and brought donuts. While everyone was eating them, I noticed something… something that reminded me of one of the reasons trans fats—the villain that raises your bad cholesterol while simultaneously lowering your good cholesterol—was introduced into our food supply in the first place.

The thing I noticed is what I like to call “donut stain”…

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The beauty of trans fat is that it’s solid at room temperature. So one of it’s advantages for food manufacturers is that it doesn’t produce “donuut stain.” Thus, because trans fats don’t melt at room temperature, the consumer doesn’t have a visible reminder that their donut is filled with fat.

Since their removal, trans fats have largely been replaced by vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature. Being liquid at room temperature, these fats seep out of products and onto their containers causing the classic donut stain.

I learned about this fact from: A discussion with my supervisor during one of our weekly lab meetings!

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Random Food Fact #131 – LESS FAT doesn’t always mean MORE SUGAR…

Ask any nutritionist and they’ll tell you…

be careful when buying low fat products, they often contain more sugar

While this is in fact true in many instances, every rule has exceptions. Consider Chapman’s Ice Cream. Like most brands, Chapman’s has a “Premium” full fat version and a “96% fat-free version”…
Chapmans Ice CreamWhile the 97% fat-free claim seems like a too good to be true fallacy, take a closer look at their Nutrition Facts tables…Chapmans Ice Cream NFtNot only does the “96% fat-free version” contain substantially less fat ( only 2.5 grams of fat versus 6 grams in the “Premium” variety), it compensates for the lack of fat with a negligible one additional gram of sugar (containing 15 grams, versus 14 grams in the “Premium” version).

What we learn from this example is that there are few “rules of thumb” that hold true in all circumstances, not only in nutrition, but in life in general. The moral of the story is…you have to read the label.

I learned about this fact from: a trip to the grocery store. Don’t ask me why I was spending so much time in the ice cream aisle 😉