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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Selena

Cake and other desserts are among the leading sources of cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat in the American diet. Grain-based desserts take the bronze medal for saturated fat according to a 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute, only to be outdone by pizza and cheese. Saturated fat has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, bacterial vaginosis, and a myriad of other health problems, although the beef and dairy industries have designed studies to try to downplay the harmful effects of saturated fat intake. Trans fat is even worse: cake and other baked goods were found to constitute 40% of total trans fats consumed.

Eggs are one of the major contributors of cholesterol in cake, but other ingredients such as dairy and certain oils can drive the total cholesterol count even higher. Cakes made out of coconut or flax-seed oil will not raise cholesterol levels as much as butter or cod-liver oil, but should still be used sparingly as both oils may raise LDL cholesterol levels. A study found that kindergarteners and pre-schoolers took on average one full serving of fruit when served next to cake and other junk foods.


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