Many popular foods and drinks that boast “0 grams trans fat” or “0 grams sugar”on their labels can actually contain significant levels of each and it’s perfectly legal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets food manufacturers claim zero grams as long as the product has less than half a gram per serving. Eat a few servings of these and other ostensibly trans-free or sugar-free products each day and, without even knowing it, you might end up consuming considerably more trans fats and sugars than you should.

“Getting trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels was a major advance for consumers’ health, but zero grams should really mean zero, or at least something a lot closer to zero,” said Dr. Carlos A. Camargo, Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, and member of the 2004 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. “These amounts of trans fat may seem small, but they can quickly add up to more than what people should consume in a day.”

Persons with diabetes or on special diets should take caution when grocery shopping by reading the Nutrition Facts AND the Ingredients list carefully. Pay close attention to the serving size. If it’s a below average size its another tell that the product maybe playing this game.

Always avoid foods that contain:

  • partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • shortening
  • high fructose corn syrup

Remember that polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fats are good fats.

For more information see Fats and Cholesterol – The Good, The Bad, and The Healthy Diet and We’re drowning in high fructose corn syrup. Do the risks go beyond our waistline?

Note: I am not a doctor and I’m not giving medical advice. If you have a medical condition that requires you to eat a particular product, you should consult your doctor before making any changes.

[tags]dieting, diet, trans fat, sugar, diabetes, heart disease[/tags]