Category Archives: fat

Trans Fat and Saturated Fat Use Decline in Fast Food Restaurants, Study says

 Eating at fast food restaurants just got a little healthier according to one study presented at the National Nutrient Database Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Trans fat and saturated fat use by 5 major fast food chains………… Find this story in its entirety at our new location


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Filed under dining out, Eat What?, fat, iPhone apps, monounsaturated fat, PICKKA, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, Shop to Lose, trans fat

Simply Sunday

Welcome to Simply Sunday here at the Health and Food Forum’s blog.  Oils and fats are the center of discussion for today’s post.  How well do you know your oils and fats?  Take our quiz and find out!

  1. Trans fats are only found in margarine products.  TRUE OR FALSE
  2. Most of the fat in your diet should come from beef.  TRUE OR FALSE
  3. Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil should be avoided.  TRUE OR FALSE
  4. Foods that are mostly made up of monounsaturated fats are solid at room temperature.   TRUE OR FALSE
  5. Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in beef products. TRUE OR FALSE


  1. FALSE: Trans fats can be present in several foods, especially in commercially prepared baked goods (e.g., cookies, pastries, etc.,).  They are also found in foods that are commercially fried, such as french fries.  Although trans fats can be found naturally in some foods, such as beef, trans fats are predominately manmade by hydrogenating vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Consuming “unnatural” trans fats has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.  It is recommended that you avoid products that have partially hydrogenated fats in their ingredients.
  2. FALSE: Most of the fat in your diet should come from fish and plant-based foods, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.  Fatty fish, such as salmon, are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are greatly polyunsaturated and have been shown to decrease the risk for developing atherosclerosis.  Oils and fats from plant-based foods tend to be  higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which are associated with decreased total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.  Monounsaturated fatty acids are also associated with increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
  3. FALSE: About half of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are in the form of lauric acid – a medium-chain saturated fat which can be converted by the body into monolaurin.  Monolaurin has been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal effects, boosting the immune system.  Some studies show that coconut oil can protect against heart disease by increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  Other investigations have shown that coconut oil promotes weight loss because the burning of the medium-chain saturated fatty acids by the body for energy actually increases the metabolic rate.
  4. FALSE: Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.  Saturated fats are mostly solid at room temperature.
  5. FALSE: Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel.  They are also found in flaxseed, soy, and walnuts in the form of alpha-linoleic acid.

*Answers were obtained from the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 3rd Edition, Duyff, R.L. and The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005, Murray, M.

Need help determining if a product is too high in fat?  Using the Eat This? and Shop to Lose apps for the iPhone can make it easier to identify products that meet your nutrition goals.


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Filed under fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, trans fat

Eat This?

PICKKA's "Eat This?" app for the iPhone is as easy as 1-2-3!

Have you ever had one of those days where you are constantly on the run going from one event to the other without even a break to use the restroom?  The kind that entails meeting after meeting at work, with the last one running overtime causing you to scramble to pick-up your child after school so that you can next fight your way through traffic to get him to karate class on time? A day that doesn’t come to an end until it’s dinner – a time when you should finally be able to relax, but then you realize you have nothing in the house to eat and you need to go to the market?  Adding to the burden, you are trying to watch your diet and eat healthier foods, but after a day like that, who has the time or energy to compare nutrition labels?!

Enter PICKKA’s new “Eat This?” app by “Shop to Lose” for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS – it’s as easy as 1-2-3!  There is no need for you to waste time standing in the grocery aisle trying to sift through nutrition facts and ingredients lists – PICKKA’s “Eat This?” app does all the work for you.  Simply enter your health objectives (e.g., weight management, diabetes control, healthy eating, etc.,), scan the bar code of the product with your phone’s camera, and wah-lah instant nutritional information pops up for your viewing.

PICKKA’s “Eat This?” health meter will let you know what foods meet your health goals.  Don’t like the choice it has given you?  No worries, because this app also provides alternative products in a similar category.  Concerned about the product’s taste?  “Eat this?” has you covered with its “consumer rating of taste” feature.  Other users of the app can rate the taste, the results of their evaluation are made available to you – providing you with additional decision making power without the additional effort.

You can download this app now for $0.99.  To learn more about the “Eat This?” app click here.  After you download the app, try it out and come back here and let us know how you like it.  Share with us, we want to know!

“Eat This?” is as easy as 1-2-3!

First, enter your health goals.

Second, scan the product's bar code.

Nutrition Facts appear for your review.

"Eat This?"explains why a product does not meet your health goals.


Filed under added sugars, diet, Eat This?, fat, health, nutrition, PICKKA, Shop to Lose, weight loss

Organic Versus All-Natural – What’s the Difference?

Terms used to promote healthy eating can be confusing, even misleading at times.  Below, two terms that are commonly seen on product labels and on signs in the produce aisle of your local market, are defined.  Familiarize yourself with their definitions before your next shopping trip to ensure purchases that will promote your health.

  • Natural: Currently there is no formal definition for this term by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  However, it is generally accepted that a product that is labeled as “natural” implies that it does not contain any synthetic ingredients or artificial colors, flavors, and/or preservatives.  A product that is labeled as “natural” does not infer or guarantee that its ingredients were produced using organic farming and/or handling and processing methods.
  • Organic: Products labeled as “organic” have to comply to the USDA standards. In order for meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products to be considered organic, the animals from which these products come from cannot have been given antibiotics or growth hormones.  Fruits, vegetables, and other plant products are organic if they were produced without use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, or bioengineering.  Organic farms have to be inspected by a government approved organic certifier.  It is also important to note that a product can only contain a few organic ingredients with the rest produced by conventional methods.  If it consists of at least 70% organic ingredients, the label will say it is “made with organic ingredients” but the USDA organic seal will not be present on the packaging.  Products that contain at least 95% of organic ingredients will be labeled as “organic” and can have the USDA organic seal on the label.  If a product’s ingredients are all organic then the label can state that it is “100% organic” and its packaging will carry the USDA organic seal.

More and more scientific evidence is being reported that supports the consumption of foods in their natural state and those that have been derived by organic methods as a way for not only promoting your own health, but that of the Earth.  While shopping, it is important to read labels carefully.  Note that just because a product is labeled as “natural” or “organic,” it does not mean it is necessarily healthy – it still can contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and fat.  If one of these ingredients is listed first or second on the list, you can be guaranteed the product contains a high amount of that ingredient and you will want to opt for another product.  To learn more about product labeling visit the American Dietetic Association’s website.



Filed under added sugars, fat, green eating, green living, health, healthy food, salt, sustainable

Fat Facts

Surprising factors may lead to weight gain.

Are you exercising like crazy and watching your calories but still can’t shed those pounds?  Perhaps there is another culprit (or two).  Did you know that alcohol, certain prescription medications, and eating too little calories can lead to weight gain?  The Nurse Practitioner Schools, an online resource for more than 350 nurse practitioner schools, recently posted an article, “This is Why You’re Fat: 10 Really Surprising Reasons,” that address these factors and more.  Visit their site to learn more.

What are you doing to control your body weight?  Share with us, we want to know!


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Filed under fat, obesity, stress, weight loss