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You should avoid artificial trans fats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, as much as possible. They raise your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol level.

The FDA has proposed banning trans fats in processed foods. Food makers have cut back on using artificial trans fats in recent years. But the FDA says trans fats may still be in some of these foods:

  • Crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies, and other baked goods
  • Snack foods (such as microwave popcorn)
  • Frozen pizza
  • Fast-food
  • Vegetable shortenings and some stick margarines
  • Coffee creamer
  • Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
  • Ready-to-use frostings

It's a good idea to check the label.

First, look at the Nutrition Facts panel. Even if it says the product has 0 grams of trans fats per serving, there may still be up to half a gram of trans fats per serving.

Next, check the Ingredient List to see if it lists partially hydrogenated oils. 

Spot Trans Fats in Fast Food

Some fast-food chains have stopped using trans fats.

Check the nutritional information for the chains you go to the most. Nutrition and fat facts are often available on a fast-food chain's web site, in pamphlets at the restaurant, or on a poster displayed at the restaurant.

Here are specific types of fast foods to check out carefully:

  • Pastries, pie crust, and biscuits
  • Breaded or fried chicken and seafood
  • French fries
  • Desserts
  • Breakfasts

Also Limit Saturated Fat

The FDA, American Heart Association, and the Institute of Medicine say trans fats raise your risk of getting heart disease more than saturated fat does.

But you still need to limit saturated fat. It's not a good plan to switch from trans fats to saturated fat.

They're both linked to heart disease.

Dietary guidelines recommend you get no more than 7% to 10% of calories from saturated fat. That comes to 14-20 grams of saturated fat if you eat 1,800 calories a day, or 17-24 grams of fat if you eat 2,200 calories a day.