Eating foods with trans-fat (or trans fatty acids) raises low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol), lowers your high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol), and is linked to heart disease. Trans fat provides no health benefit and there’s no safe level of eating trans-fat. The FDA, American Heart Association, and the Institute of Medicine all agree that trans fatty acids have a stronger effect on the risk of heart disease than other unhealthy fat.
The most commonly eaten form of trans fat is in processed food. Manufacturers have voluntarily reduced or removed trans-fat from their products; however, trans fat can still be found in foods that label the amount of trans fat as “0 grams.” Manufacturers are allowed to label products containing between 0 to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving as “0 grams.” This labeling is a problem because people that see the 0 g trans-fat on the nutrition facts label probably don’t know that they’re still eating consuming trans-fat. Trans-fat can still be found in foods like crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods snack foods (likes microwave popcorn), frozen pizza, and coffee creamers.
A strategic priority for the Arizona Department of Health Services is to promote healthy eating and physical activity to reduce obesity. Find out how at www.eatwellbewell.org or read a recent article in Preventing Chronic Disease for a deeper dive.