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Foods That Contain Trans Fatty Acids

Fat Talk: Trans Fatty Acids

Not all fats are bad for us, but too many saturated fats (ones derived from animals) can be bad news for your heart. Another fat on the naughty list are trans fatty acids. Commonly called trans fat, these are "the chemically-altered fats." Most trans fats are a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils (companies use them to increase the shelf life of their products). Trans fat is neither required nor beneficial to our bodies, and eating trans fat can increase your risk of heart disease, miscarriages, and type 2 diabetes.

Some trans fats can occur naturally in small quantities in meat and dairy products such as beef, lamb, and butterfat. It's not clear whether these have the same negative effects on your cholesterol levels as the manufactured kind.

The American Heart Association recommends that less than one percent of your total daily calories should be trans fat. That means if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet, eat less than two grams a day.


There may be trans fat lurking in your foods without you even knowing. To find out why


Reading nutrition labels on packages may seem like a no-brainer way to find trans fat. The problem is that a product may claim to have zero grams of trans fat, when in reality it may contain less than .5 grams. That's because companies aren't required to list it on the label if it contains this much. Sneaky, I know, but you can be just as crafty by looking at the ingredient list. Assume a food contains trans fat if the ingredients include any of the following: shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated vegetable oil. Here's a list of common products you should watch out for.

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Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I avoid all of those things now. I used to be a huge fat-free Cool Whip fan...I would eat gobs of it straight out of the tub because I thought it was fat free. But yeah, it has .5grams per 2 Tbsp, which is actually kind of a lot if you eat 1/4 cup of the stuff all at once. I also used to eat chips occasionally, but now if I crave them I eat pork rinds instead. They have the same amount of calories, but the pork rinds have natural saturated fat in them instead some man-made trans fats. You still have to limit them, though.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
It drives me insane that companies can label something 0g trans fat or "trans fat free!" when it has .4 or less. You eat two servings and you're almost at 1g. Throughout the whole day, those add up. I try to avoid processed foods, that keeps my trans fat intake low or non-existent.
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