Q: What are trans fats, and why are they bad for my health? 

Family eating around the table.


Empower your dietary decisions with this blog post on trans fats. Learn to spot and avoid these harmful ingredients in processed foods, safeguarding your heart health. Unmask deceptive packaging and make healthier choices with the insights offered here. Your path to informed grocery shopping starts now.

Trans fats, also called trans-fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat found in processed foods. Trans fats are not commonly found in nature, so they’re harder for the body to process compared to natural fats such as olive oil or butter. Many doctors believe trans fats are the worst kind of fat because they not only raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) but also lower your good cholesterol (HDL), increasing your risk of heart disease.  

So how can you tell if the items in your grocery cart contain trans fat? Read the labels. Look for an ingredient called “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil. This indicates an industrial process in which food manufacturers create trans fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to solidify at room temperature. These trans fats help expand a product’s shelf life and are commonly found in pre-packaged baked goods, chips, margarine, coffee creamer, refrigerated dough, and frozen or fried convenience foods. 

Image of donuts.


Be wary of packaging that boasts “no trans fat.” By law, a food manufacturer can label a product as having “zero grams of trans fat” as long as it contains less than one full gram of trans fat per serving. These trace amounts of trans fat can add up and wreak havoc on your heart health, so check the labels to be sure. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now requiring the food industry to phase out trans fats. Even so, you can still find them in many of the products available at your local grocery store. The best way to avoid trans fats is by choosing whole foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, natural grains, and lean protein.  







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Celebrate with cancer survivors at this year’s Walk for Hope, scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Heimann Cancer Center in Medford. Register to walk or volunteer by Sept. 20 to receive a free T-shirt.