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Where Are Trans Fats Hiding?

How do you limit these harmful fats? Print out this list of 10 foods to beware and take it to the supermarket!
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Trans Fats Top 10

There's more good news. "It's very likely that in the next few months, we'll be seeing more and more products without trans fats" as the food industry adjusts to the new consumer awareness, Moore tells WebMD.

The Top 10 "Trans Fat" Foods:

1. Spreads . Margarine is a twisted sister -- it's loaded with trans fats and saturated fats, both of which can lead to heart disease. Other non-butter spreads and shortening also contain large amounts of trans fat and saturated fat:

  • Stick margarine has 2.8 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 2.1 grams of saturated fat.
  • Tub margarine has 0.6 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 1.2 grams of saturated fat.
  • Shortening has 4.2 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 3.4 grams of saturated fat.
  • Butter has 0.3 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 7.2 grams of saturated fat.

Tip: Look for soft-tub margarine, because it is less likely to have trans fat. Some margarines already say that on the packaging.

[Important note: When you cook with margarine or shortening, you will not increase the amount of trans fat in food, says Moore. Cooking is not the same as the hydrogenation process. "Margarine and shortening are already bad, but you won't make them any worse."]

2. Packaged foods . Cake mixes, Bisquick, and other mixes all have several grams of trans fat per serving.

Tip: Add flour and baking powder to your grocery list; do-it-yourself baking is about your only option right now, says Moore. Or watch for reduced-fat mixes.

3. Soups. Ramen noodles and soup cups contain very high levels of trans fat.

Tip: Get out the crock-pot and recipe book. Or try the fat-free and reduced-fat canned soups.

4. Fast Food. Bad news here: Fries, chicken, and other foods are deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oil. Even if the chains use liquid oil, fries are sometimes partially fried in trans fat before they're shipped to the restaurant. Pancakes and grilled sandwiches also have some trans fat, from margarine slathered on the grill. Examples:

  • Fries (a medium order) contain 14.5 grams.
  • A KFC Original Recipe chicken dinner has 7 grams, mostly from the chicken and biscuit.
  • Burger King Dutch Apple Pie has 2 grams.

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