FDA bans hydrogenated oils

Now even the U.S. Government is on board with what health specialists have known all along: partially hydrogenated oils and the industrial trans fats they contain are not safe for human consumption. 

This is especially true if you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

The FDA already requires food manufacturers to list the amount of trans fats in their products. It also removed trans fats from the category of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

However, now the FDA is working to remove partially hydrogenated oils from the food supply.

Food manufacturers have three years to phase them out of use, which should make boxed, packaged, and restaurant foods safer.

Managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism requires a careful attention to diet. The ban on trans fats will make eating out a little bit safer for those working to manage autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

FDA banning trans fats to protect heart health; also good for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

The FDA cites heart disease risks for banning trans fats. Trans fats contribute to a build up of plaque in arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. The FDA says removing trans fats from the food supply will prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year.

Because trans fats affect the integrity of cells, this can promote inflammation, making them a bad choice for those with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Trans fats also shrink the brain, which is bad news when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Partially hydrogenated oils also shrink the brain and increase the risk of dementia. One study found that even very small amounts of trans fats damage the brain.

This is of concern to those with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, as an unmanaged autoimmune thyroid condition is very hard on the brain. People with Hashimoto’s should be working to restore and preserve brain health, not sabotage it. 

Manufacturers are not required to list trans fats on the nutrition label if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. If you see partially hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients, then avoid that food (even if the nutrition label says 0 grams trans fat).

Hydrogenated oils are closer in structure to plastic than food and damage the brain in more than one way. They deprive the brain of oxygen by clogging arteries that bring blood to the brain.

They also become part of brain cell membranes. Cell membranes, which are comprised of fats, communicate with other cells and determine what enters and exits the cell. When hydrogenated oils in the diet become part of cell membranes, this makes them more rigid and less functional. The sheaths that insulate and protect neurons also incorporate trans fats.

This process also replaces the vital brain fats DHA and essential omega-3 fatty acid. As a result, cellular communication suffers, brain tissue degenerates, and disorders such as poor mental performance, mood disorders, memory loss, or health problems can arise.

These healthy brain fats are also vital for good immune function and the management of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Avoiding trans fats when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Always read ingredient labels and ask food servers what type of oil is used for frying when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism (as you’ll be avoiding gluten, too). Here are foods that commonly contain hydrogenated oils:

  • Crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods
  • Snack foods (such as some microwave popcorn)
  • Stick margarines
  • Coffee creamers
  • Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
  • Ready-to-use frostings
  • Brain-friendly diet

Ditch trans fats and go for a brain-friendly diet that includes leafy green vegetables, seafood, eggs, olive oil, nuts, avocados, colorful fruits, nuts, and meats. To learn more about ways to eat for healthier brain function and to manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, check out the leaky gut/autoimmune diet and ask my office for information.