What Are Trans Fats, Anyway?

We’ve all heard the term “trans fat,” but what does it really mean? Chances are, if you’ve ever eaten a packaged food, you’ve consumed trans fat. That’s because trans fats are an inexpensive and easy way for manufacturers to make their foods last longer on store shelves and in your kitchen pantry. In this video, we’re explaining everything you’ve ever wanted to know about trans fat.

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While trans fats can keep a package of Twinkies from spoiling, they’re not good for your health. Trans fat can raise your LDL or bad cholesterol and lower your HDL or good cholesterol. What’s more, they can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

If you look at a packaged food label and don’t see “trans fat” as an ingredient, look closer: The sneaky type of fat is often listed as “partially hydrogenated oil” on nutrition labels. Some foods with trans fat to look out for include potato chips, fried food, baked goods, frosting, frozen pizza, margarine, and even coffee creamer.

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If trans fat are so bad, why are they in so many foods? The FDA asked the same question and, in response, decided manufacturers must remove trans fats from their products by June 2018. Doing so could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year, according to the FDA.

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