A major overhaul in the food industry is coming and we, the consumers, are going to benefit. We've heard about trans fat for years, this culprit in food that contributes to heart disease.
Finally, after 10 years of debate, the government is requiring food labels to reveal exact levels of trans fat, which is in everything from meats to dairy products to processed foods.
Most of the trans fat in America's diet comes from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which helps food hold its flavor and avoid spoiling, but here's the problem: it's now clear that this type of fat is at least as harmful as what we call saturated or animal fat in raising blood cholesterol and increasing risk for heart disease.
Until now, consumers have had no way of knowing how much trans fat they're eating. But under the new FDA food label rules, trans fat amounts calculated in grams will be listed right under saturated fats.
But don't expect it right away, food manufacturers have until 2006 to get those labels fixed. Meanwhile, in anticipation of this, many food manufacturers have already started revamping recipes to knock down or even knock out the trans fat altogether.