Q. Where are trans fats found and how to avoid them?

Where are trans fats found and how to avoid them?

A. As of January 2006, new labels will list trans fats in packaged foods. Keep a watchful eye on snacks and bakery treats—especially fried pastries and anything with a frosting or creamy filling. In restaurants, be wary of anything deep-fried or baked.

Aim to eat foods labeled “zero trans fats” with no partially hydrogenated oils in their ingredient lists. Amounts vary greatly from brand to brand.

Currently, the worst offenders are:

Estimated Trans Fats (g) High/Low

Potpie, individual: 16/0

Microwave popcorn, butter-flavored: 9/1
1 (3.5-oz.) bag (4 cups)

French fries, fast-food, medium: 8/2

Cinnamon roll (mall-style): 6/4.5

Doughnut, glazed, 1 reg or 4 mini: 5/3

Biscuit, buttermilk: 5/1.5

Fish sticks, 3 oz.: 5/0

Pound cake, 1 (2-oz.) slice: 4.5/3

Apple pie, fast-food serving: 4.5/3

Chicken-breast strips, fast-food, 5: 4.5/2.5

Chicken nuggets, fast-food, 10: 3/2.5

Fish sandwich, fast-food: 3/1

Cake, frosted, 1 slice: 3/2

Margarine, stick, 1 Tbsp.: 3/1

Potato chips, 1.5-oz. bag: 3/0

Taco shells, 2: 2.5/2

Estimates compiled from manufacturers’ nutrition information, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, University of Maryland Medical Center, Center for Science in the Public Interest and


Might I offer a few suggestions?

Depending upon where you shop, there seem to be plenty of fresh corn tortillas available that aren't made with trans fat. I simply wipe a damp paper towel (dampened with a good vegetable oil) or brush oil on both sides and let them hang down, suspended between two rungs off of the oven rack and bake until crisp (350 degrees). When done, they actually have a footing that allows the shells to stand up while putting in the ingredients.

If you're somewhere where you really can't get fresh taco shells, try using flour tortillas. I dampen a paper town under the faucet and squeeze out most of the water from it. I then take my flour tortilla, place it on the dampened paper towel, and roll it up. I then place the rolled tortilla/towel in the microwave and cook for about a minute which steams the tortilla nicely. Obviously if you do more than you'll need to microwave for a longer time. But don't do too many at once as if they are not removed from the paper towel shortly after microwaving, they tend to stick to the paper. I then unroll my tortilla and fill (I'd leave out the lettuce and tomatoes if you're using them and put them on when the burrito is finished). If needed, I than again place the filled tortilla (again, wrapped within a dampened paper towel) in the microwave for another minute and have a really nice burrito.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
Bill A.


12/03/2009 - 5:27pm

ok So how do you lower the trans fat count of taco shells when making Tacos for supper?
I fry the lean ground beef then rinse in hot water to take any fat left from frying. But what can I do about the shells? Is there a lower fat one that can be purchased?
Hope someone can help!


12/02/2009 - 2:34pm

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