Trans Fat: What is it?

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May 15, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

What is it? Trans fats are used to extend the shelf life of food products such as crackers, cookies, and cakes.  Trans fat is one of the reasons a Twinkie has such a long shelf life!!  Trans fats are also found in fried fast food and some margarine.  Trans fats are created through a process called hydrogenation where hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it less likely to spoil.

Why is it bad?  Trans fats increase the LDL (or lousy) cholesterol while decreasing the HDL (or happy) cholesterol.  These fats also increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

What do I look for on a food label? On a nutrition label, below the “Total Fat” is a subset called “Trans Fat.”  An ideal food will have 0 “Trans fat.”  However, you should also check the ingredient list for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.”


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