Trans fats are bad for your health – homemade cookies have very little
Read on to hear the insider secrets that the commercial cookie companies do not want you to know.
Learn about the dangers of trans fats in cooking and how home baked cookies can be much better for your health than shop bought ones.
Cookies contain fats and sugars – fact!
Too much fat and too much sugar is bad for you – fact!
But not all sugars and not all fats are equal.
It’s the combination of sugar, flour, fat – and a bit of love – that make home baked cookies taste great. But it is getting the right sort of fat that really helps.
Everyone has heard of saturated and unsaturated fats. Most people know that their body needs some fat as part of a balanced diet and that saturated fats are not as good for you as unsaturated fats.
In the 1980s there was a drive to reduce the daily intake of fats and substitute carbohydrates instead for energy. More recent research has not found that reducing fat levels to those recommended levels (typically below 30% of daily intake) has any beneficial effect.
What is now known as a result of recent studies is that it is trans fats that are the danger component of the story.
So what are trans fats, and how do I avoid them?
Trans fats, more correctly known as trans fatty acids, are formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. These are used extensively in commercially produced cookies as they boost flavor and extend shelf life so reducing costs and wastage. They are also cheaper than non trans fats.
Recent studies have shown that these trans fats tend to increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood, while lowering levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It also leads to other heart disease problems.
The FDA have now acknowledged that the consumer needs to know about this and food labels will have to carry trans fat information from 2006. Several manufacturers are already looking to change their recipes to make their products more healthy. There is no currently planned legislation in Europe, but expect it to follow soon.
How to avoid trans fats?
Bake your own cookies following our simple, mouth watering recipes and use butter not shortening. You will only rarely find butter listed as an ingredient in commercial cookies, you tend to find the dreaded ‘hydrogenated fat’, but it is found in almost all our recipes.
Butter is much better for you. Of course it should not be eaten to excess, but as a largely natural product, it contains fat-soluble vitamins which are readily absorbed and the fat in butter is anti viral and anti microbial.