Trans Fat

Trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, making it a powerful promoter of heart disease.

ShareThis

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, Americans should eat as little trans fat as possible. The average American adult has been consuming 5.6 grams a day. How much trans fat are you consuming?

Gram-for-gram, trans fat is the most harmful fat of all, causing 50,000 fatal heart attacks annually. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration finalized its determination that artificial trans fat is no longer generally recognized as safe for use in food.

Artificial trans fat—in cookies, French fries, doughnuts, fried chicken, and many other foods—is the most harmful fat (on a gram-forgram basis) in the food supply. Some major food manufacturers, and many smaller ones, are eliminating or reducing artificial trans fat in their foods. Unfortunately, many other restaurants and food manufacturers have not switched to healthier oils. Now is the time for cities, states and federal governments to take action to completely eliminate trans fat from our food.

What is trans fat?

Most of the trans fat Americans consume is artificial trans fat that comes from partially hydrogenated oil. Partial hydrogenation is a process in which hydrogen is added to an oil to make it more solid, like margarine or shortening.

Why is trans fat so bad for you?

There are “good” fats and there are “bad” fats in our food supply. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as olive, canola, soybean and corn oils) are the “good” ones that help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Saturated fat and trans fat are the “bad” fats that raise LDL cholesterol. But trans fat is doubly bad because it decreases HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that trans fat causes 72,000 to 228,000 heart attacks, including roughly 50,000 fatal ones, per year. Trans fat also promotes diabetes. All told, artificial trans fat, on a gram-for gram basis is the most harmful fat of all.