Trans fats are also known as partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats. Although they can occur naturally, most trans fats in the individual’s diet comes from artificial trans fat that is made by processing vegetable oil with hydrogen under pressure. When consumed in foods, trans fats not only raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but actually lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume 2,000 calories a day is no more than two grams of trans fat in their daily diet.
Meat and milk products
Meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butter, contain small amounts of trans fats. However, it is not yet understood whether naturally occurring trans fats have the same negative effects on cholesterol levels as artificial trans fats.
Trans fats provide a desired taste and texture of fried food. Oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers to bring cost savings to food manufacturers. Fried foods include donuts, french fries and fried chicken.
In addition to changing the taste and texture of food, trans fats also increase a freshness of the food and is often added to packaged baked goods. These products include cookies, crackers, muffins, pizza dough, pastries, pies, cakes and icings. Stick margarine or shortening can also contain trans fats and homemade pastries made with these fats may later contain trans fats too.
“Trans Fat Free” Foods
FDA regulations require that the amount of trans fats be included in the nutritional information part of a product’s label. However, the products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving legally allowed to claim that they are “Trans Fat Free” on the package. Since the total recommended daily intake of trans fats is only about 2.0 grams, the food is “free” of trans fats can still be a significant part of a person’s daily trans fat intake.
Cholesterol Free Vegetable oils
Some fast-food restaurants advertise that they only cook in vegetable oils or cholesterol-free oils. However, these oils still be hydrogenated and can still raise cholesterol.
Other Snack Foods
Some brands and varieties of microwave popcorn and instant latte coffee drinks are both known to contain trans fats. The only way to know with certainty whether a food contains trans fats and how much it contains is to read the nutritional information section of the product label.
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