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A Trans Fat Q&A

What are trans fats?

Trans fats are unsaturated fats. They are produced when hydrogen is added to oils to turn them from a liquid form to a semi-solid form. This processed is used by manufacturers to increase the shelf life of foods and improve their texture.

How do I know if a food contains trans fat?

Check on the list of ingredients and look for the words “shortening,” “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “hydrogenated vegetable oil.”

Which foods contain the most trans fat?

Fast food is probably the worst offender with doughnuts, pastries, and cakes coming in a close second.

How much trans fats are we supposed to eat per day?

Ideally none! Less than 1% of your daily energy intake should come from trans fats. For an average person that’s less than 2.2 g per day which is the amount of natural trans fats found in cheese, cream, beef and lamb.

Why are trans fats harmful to our health?

Trans fats raise the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and lower the level of good cholesterol (HDL). This increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

How do trans fats differ from saturated fats?

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. They are found in animal fats such as butter and lard as well as coconut oil. A small amount of saturated fat in the diet is acceptable however, trans fats should be avoided as much as possible.

How can I limit the amount of trans fats in my diet?

Read food labels and avoid foods that list hydrogenated vegetable oils in the ingredients. Reducing your intake of processed foods, fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pastry and take-away food will dramatically reduce your intake of trans fats.