Banish Bad Fat

Learn about fats and get lean the right way

from Stealth Health

28. Substitute soy for meat or cheese at least once a week. Soy cheese, soy burgers, and soy crumbles (like ground meat) are a great way to cut the saturated fat while retaining some semblance of the original food. Okay, soy products may not be gourmet, but you can certainly handle a switch once a week!

29. Try soy milk on your cereal. These days, you can even get flavored soy milks. Just make sure to look for brands with added calcium. You can also substitute soy milk in baking and other recipes.

30. Look for the keywords on labels. Although manufacturers aren’t required to begin listing the amount of trans fats in their products until 2006, you can still suss out the bad stuff with a bit of careful label reading. You’re looking for the words “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated.” If you see that, step away from the food and nobody will get hurt!

31. Do the math yourself. Even before manufacturers begin listing trans fats on their labels, you can figure out the amount. Simply add the amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats to the saturated fat. Subtract the sum from the total fat listed on the label. The remainder is trans fat.

32. Take manufacturer labeling with a grain of, ahem, fat. By 2006, when the government’s mandated labeling of trans fats goes into effect, manufacturers will be able to tout their products as “trans-free.” Some already do. Take their claims with skepticism. Federal rules allow this claim as long as the product has less than 0.5 grams of the nasty fat. But if you eat several servings a day of foods with these tiny amounts of trans fats, you could be getting 5 or more grams a day!

33. Be fast-food savvy. The amount of fat in a fast-food restaurant meal can be stunning. The french fries, the burgers, the “special sauces” made from mayonnaise, the fried this-and-that, even the salads swimming in oily or creamy dressings may be your worst dietary enemy. Our recommendation: Go to the Web site of each of the fast-food chains you frequent, and take 15 minutes to look at the nutritional analyses of the foods you prefer. After the shock wears away, make a commitment to healthier choices — or much smaller portions.

34. Keep a jar of homemade salad dressing in the fridge. Bottled dressings are a veritable fount of trans fats.

35. Puree silken tofu. Works great as a substitute for mayonnaise in recipes, or to blend with frozen fruit and sweetener for a yogurt-like snack. Also try layering it with granola for a parfait.