what are trans fats?

The sneaky trans fat is in more foods than you might think. The food industry has disguised the name and hidden it in the ingredient list but worry no more, I will teach you how to find them!

Trans fats are made when vegetable oils are artificially saturated, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated.


A chemical process that turns liquid vegetable oil into a more solid form. For instance, the process of hydrogenation turns cottonseed oil into Crisco. Companies do this to increase the longevity of a product by making it more “shelf stable.”

what happens when you eat trans fat?

Fats are a currently a controversial topic within the scientific community, but everyone can agree that trans fats aren’t doing us any favors.

The FDA guidelines suggest that you keep trans fat consumption as low as possible by limiting all foods that contain trans fat. Trans fat has no upper limit or percent daily value recommended. Here are three reasons why you should avoid consuming any trans fat. 

Raises LDL Cholesterol

When we eat trans fats are LDL cholesterol levels are increased. Increased LDL levels have a strong correlation with coronary heart disease risks.

Can Cause Inflammation

Trans fatty acids increase the amount of inflammation in the body.

Risk of Heart Disease

Regular consumption of trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease.

Trans Fat and Food Labels

There are two places trans fats come from, processed foods and animal products. If you are worried about consuming trans fats, you can eat plants and avoid the fiasco, or hone in on the ingredient list.

Can you just look for packaging that says trans fat-free?

Not really.

Food labeling is a confusing business in the states, packaging laws seem to be lenient of the producers, making it a bit tricky for us consumers. Don’t trust the pretty print on the front and turn the product over to find the facts.

Let’s start with the nutrition label. Even if there is a zero next to “trans fat per serving” there might still be trans fat in that product. As long as there is less than 0.5 grams fo trans fat per serving, the FDA allows food to be labeled as having zero grams of trans fat. That tub of margarine that boasts “no trans fat” or “trans fat-free” could still contain 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving.

Annoying, I know.

This is why I always recommend you go straight to the ingredient list. There is one word that will always give away trans fat: hydrogenation. If you see any combination of words that has hydrogenated in the mix, then my friend, have found trans fat.

foods containing trans fat

If you look at this list of foods containing trans fats, you will quickly realize these might be some of your favorites.

Unless you are swearing off french fries for life – it’s likely you are going to consume trans fat.

This list is merely here to keep you aware which foods are likely to contain trans fat it would be wise to limit them.

It’s not surprising that plants beat fried food – just remember it’s what we eat on a daily basis that shapes our health and diet.

Don’t freak out about trans fat, just try to eat a little less.

vegetable shortening
crackers and cookies
fried foods and french fries
pizza and pizza pockets
frozen dough products
coffee creamer
cake and baked goods
microwave popcorn
ready-made frostings
pancake and waffle mixes
meat and dairy products


1. Trans fat can increase the risk of heart disease, raises LDL, and causes inflammation

2. Avoid eating processed foods with trans fat

3. Meat and dairy contain small amounts of trans fats

4. Don’t trust labels on food packaging. Go straight to the ingredient list, partially hydrogenated oil equals trans fat.