Trans-saturated fats (also known as trans fats) are mostly man-made semi-solid fats, manufactured through a process that adds hydrogen to a liquid fat, transforming it into a solid fat.
The primary source in the diet is “partially hydrogenated oils,” found in shelf-stable food items like crackers, cookies, bakery goods, and fried foods like French fries. Trans fats are used in these products because they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce, offer a desirable flavor, and last a long time. But trans fats come with their downside, especially to your family’s health. They raise the bad fats in your blood and lower the protective or good fats, increasing the risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Even if a food label states “0 grams trans fats,” the law says it can contain up to ½ gram of trans fat per serving.
Make sure to read the Nutrition Facts Panel and the ingredients label where words like “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “hydrogenated oil” will clue you in on the presence of trans fats, and watch serving sizes of these foods.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, September 2020