Trans fat is the common name for unsaturated fat with trans-isomer (E-isomer) fatty acid(s). The consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Obviously, you want to avoid foods with trans fats.
Foods where you may find high amount of trans fats:
- Margarine and butter – loaded with trans fats and saturated fats
- Packaged foods – some cake mixes, Bisquick
- Soup cups – Ramen noodles, for example
- Pound cake
- Cookies and cakes (with shortening-based frostings) – from supermarket bakeries have plenty of trans fat.
- Frozen Food – frozen pies, pot pies, waffles, pizzas, even breaded fish sticks contain trans fat
- Baked goods – more trans fats are used in commercially baked products than any other foods
- Fast Food – fries, chicken, and other foods are deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oil. Even if the chains use liquid oil, fries are sometimes partially fried in trans fat before they’re shipped to the restaurant.
- Don’t eat any product which has the words “partially hydrogenated” or “shortening” in the ingredients list.
- If the label says zero trans fats, don’t believe it. If the words “partially hydrogenated” or “shortening” are in the ingredients list, it DOES contain trans fat.
- Be careful when consuming products with labels from outside the United States. Sometimes they contain partially hydrogenated oil but it’s not on the label.
- In restaurants, bakeries, and other eateries, ask whether they use partially hydrogenated oil for frying or baking or in salad dressings. If they say they use vegetable oil, ask whether it is partially hydrogenated. Don’t be shy about asking. Assume that all unlabeled baked and fried goods contain partially hydrogenated oil, unless you know otherwise.
- Keep saturated fat intake low too. This is very important.
- Remember that polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fats are good fats.
- Cholesterol that affects our arteries comes from two sources: (i) animal products and (ii) bad fats. If a product is “cholesterol fee,” that doesn’t mean that it won’t raise your bad cholesterol. If the product itself contains no cholesterol but it does contain trans fat or saturated fat, it will raise your bad cholesterol.