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Which Foods Are High In Trans Fats?

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Updated January 15, 2009

Question: Which Foods Are High In Trans Fats?
Foods high in trans fats should be avoided if you are trying to watch your cholesterol levels.
Answer: Trans fats are also known as harmful fats. These fats are formed through a process called hydrogenation, which is designed to extend the shelf-life of foods, as well as to make foods more palatable. Unfortunately, foods that are processed through this procedure can also raise your cholesterol and triglyceride levels – and can even place you at risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The National Cholesterol Education program recommends that you keep your consumption of trans fats to a minimum – if not avoided, especially if you are trying to watch your cholesterol levels. Increasingly, governments are banning trans fats from prepared food and in restaurant food. The following foods contain trans fats and should be avoided, due to their ability to raise cholesterol and your risk of heart disease:

  • Fast foods
  • Some snack foods (chips, crackers)
  • Fried foods
  • Nondairy creamer
  • Shortening
  • Baked foods – especially if they are commercially prepared (cakes, pastries, cookies)
Sometimes, foods containing trans-fats are difficult to identify. If a container states that the food is “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” those foods contain trans fats. You can always check the back of foods labels on your favorite foods, if you are in doubt of the trans fat content.

Sources:

Rolfes SR, Whitney E. Understanding Nutrition, 3rd ed 2005.

Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (PDF), July 2004, The National Institutes of Heath: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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