Most of us have heard about trans fat and that it is not healthy. Trans fat increases your LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol) AND also decreases you HDL (“good” cholesterol). It has also been shown to increase triglycerides and inflammation. But food manufacturers like to use it primarily because it prolongs the shelf life of foods prepared with it.
How do you know trans fat is in your food?
In the ingredient list, any partially hydrogenated oils are trans fat.
Sometimes, foods say “0 grams trans fat” on the front of the package.
And they can also say 0 grams trans fat on the Nutrition Facts. (see image at right)
Yet they can still contain trans fat!
How can this be? Here’s how:
The following quote is from the FDA’s Food Labeling Guidelines:
5. How should trans fatty acids be listed?
Trans fatty acids should be listed as “Trans fat” or “Trans” on a separate line under the listing of saturated fat in the nutrition label. Trans fat content must be expressed as grams per serving to the nearest 0.5-gram increment below 5 grams and to the nearest gram above 5 grams. If a serving contains less than 0.5 gram, the content, when declared, must be expressed as “0 g.”
What do you need to do?
Read all of the label, including the ingredients list. Because, here’s the thing. If a product says 0 grams trans fat per serving, it could be 0.49 grams of fat per servings. You just don’t know! So if you’re eating cookies and you tend to eat more than what the package says a serving is, you could be consuming a lot of trans fat.