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Sunday, October 17, 2021

ASUCD Coffee House eliminates trans-fats

UC Davis students who want to eat healthy without spending hours in the kitchen can achieve this at the Memorial Union.

The Coffee House recently announced the removal of trans-fats from its menu – a process that began last year.

The Coffee House is renewing its 40-year pledge to serving healthy, homemade foods to the UC Davis population by eliminating trans-fats from all its food products, according to a Coffee House press release.

Trans-fat is formed when liquid oils go through a process called hydrogenation. It is most often found in margarine, shortening, crackers and snack foods and is used to increase the shelf-life of those items. Trans-fat has been found to raise cholesterol and can increase risk of coronary heart disease, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Though the move to a completely trans-fat free menu is a recent improvement, the Coffee House has always prided itself on providing healthy options to its customers, said Sharon Coulson, Coffee House director.

“[The Coho] makes the majority of its food from scratch, so trans-fats was never a huge problem for us as they are usually found in convenience items,” she said. “However, there were a few items, such as the quiche crusts, that still contained trans-fats. As a nutritionist, I was very dedicated to making sure we made the complete change to trans-fat free.”

In addition to the elimination of trans-fats from its foods, the Coffee House also recently made a switch back to the use of butter in its baked goods after a brief stint with margarine.

“Traditionally, we have made all of our baked goods with butter,” Coulson said. “[The Coho] decided to make the change to a trans-fat-free margarine in order to contain food costs and to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. However, upon further investigation, I discovered that the margarine and butter were very similar in terms of saturated fat content. [The Coho] has always thought that the use of butter elevated our baked goods to a higher quality, so we made the switch back.”

Loyal Coffee House customers appear to support the move back to butter.

“I definitely got comments from customers who noticed a change in the flavor of certain items after the change to margarine,” said Sandy Yang, a junior sociology major and Coffee House employee. “There were customers who noticed even before we posted a sign announcing the change. We even had one woman who refused to buy any more bakery items until we brought butter back.”

One benefit of the trans-fat-free margarine is that it is vegan friendly, Coulson said.

“Unfortunately, using butter means that most of our baked goods are not vegan,” she said. “However, we will continue to make some items with the margarine, so that we can offer at least one vegan option on a daily basis.”

 

ERICA LEE can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com. 

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