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  • Writer's pictureSandy Jolles

Facts on Trans Fats

Did you know that consuming trans fats increases low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or the "bad" cholesterol? This can contribute to increased coronary heart disease

and death. Trans fat may also have other negative health effects like

decreasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol.

Further, reducing trans fat consumption by avoiding artificial trans fats could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 deaths from heart disease each year in the U.S.

There are two main sources of dietary trans fatty acids (trans fat). Naturally occurring trans fat is found in small amounts in the fatty parts of meat and dairy products. Artificial trans fat comes from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil and is formed when hydrogen is added to liquid oil turning it into solid fat. Often food manufacturers use artificial trans fat in food products as it is inexpensive and it increases the food’s shelf life, stability, and texture. Foods that may contain artificial trans fat include fried items, savory snacks (like microwave popcorn), frozen pizzas, baked goods, margarines and spreads, ready-to-use frosting, and coffee creamers.

Here are some ways to minimize your intake!

- Read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list to compare foods.

Choose products with 0 grams trans fat.

Check the Ingredient List to see if there is any partially hydrogenated oil in the product.

Because products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as having 0 grams trans fat, checking the Ingredient List is important to avoid all artificial trans fat.

- When choosing foods low in trans fat, make sure they are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol: look for foods with 5% of the Daily Value or less. Foods with 20% or more of the Daily Value of these two components are high.

- Use monounsaturated fat (canola and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fat (soybean, corn, and sunflower oil) in recipes that call for fat.

- A good way to avoid trans fat is to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

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