The Fat You Most Want to Avoid: Trans Fats

trans fats 9-30-14

Some trans fats occur naturally. But most come from a process called hydrogenation. During this process, food makers add hydrogen to vegetable oil. This creates a man-made fat that gives products a longer shelf life.
The problem is, trans fats don’t give you a longer shelf life. Quite the opposite. Studies show they may be worse than saturated fats in some ways. They may even clog your arteries at a faster rate than saturated fats.

 

How can you recognize foods that contain trans fats?

 

Highly processed foods often contain trans fats. At the grocery store, they are often sold in boxes or bags. Many fried fast foods also contain trans fats. To avoid trans fats:

  • Watch out for foods that are crispy, cakey, creamy, or flaky. These often include chips, cookies, doughnuts, crackers, and french fries, to name a few.
  • Read food nutrition facts labels. Look for foods that have “0g” of trans fats listed under “Total Fat.”

Look at the ingredients. Avoid foods that list “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils. Many salad dressings and margarines have hydrogenated oils.