Trans Fat

Most trans fat people eat comes from “partially hydrogenated” oil in foods that can increase your level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol while lowering your level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase your risk for heart disease.

Artificial trans fat has no known health benefits and there is no safe amount to consume. You should avoid it as much as possible.

Trans fat is added artificially to foods that do not need it, including these common items:

  • Fried foods, such as french fries, taco shells and doughnuts
  • Margarine and vegetable shortening
  • Baked items, such as hamburger buns, pizza dough and cookies
  • Pre-mixed products, such as pancake and hot chocolate mix.

You can identify foods with trans fat by looking for “partially hydrogenated” oil in the list of ingredients.

Healthier Alternatives

The saturated fat that is naturally present in, for example, butter and lard is also unhealthy, but it is not as bad as trans fat. The best alternatives for trans fat include mono- and poly-unsaturated oils. Examples of foods that have mono- and poly-unsaturated oils in them are:

  • Plant oils such as corn, soybean, olive, safflower, sunflower, and canola oils
  • Avocadoes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Some fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines

NYC Restrictions

As of 2008, the use of trans fat in restaurants in New York City is restricted. If you operate a food service establishment in the city, learn more about the trans fat law.

Additional Resources

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