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Understanding Trans Fats

You should avoid trans fats as much as possible. They're bad for your heart health.

Trans fats raise LDL "bad" cholesterol and make you more likely to get heart disease. They also lower HDL "good" cholesterol.

The FDA wants to ban food companies from using artificial trans fats without special permission. The proposed ban doesn't affect the small amounts of natural trans fats found in beef, lamb, and full-fat dairy products.

Food makers once used artificial trans fats to enhance the flavor, texture, and shelf life of processed foods. You might have seen those trans fats listed as "partially hydrogenated oils."

The trans fats ban isn't final yet. But foods that have trans fats in them have to say so on their labels.

What to Check

Check the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list. If the Nutrition Facts label says the product has "0 g trans fat," that doesn't necessarily mean it has no trans fats. It could have up to half a gram of trans fats per serving. So check the ingredient label to see if "partially hydrogenated oils" is on the list. Those are trans fats.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on April 02, 2014

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