What is Trans Fat?
Trans fat is found in many foods. Most trans fat is artificial because it is created when a liquid vegetable oil is made into a solid fat, like margarine or shortening. Some meat (e.g. beef and lamb) and dairy products also have small amounts of naturally-occurring trans fat.
Where Do You Find Trans Fat?
Artificial trans fat may be found in foods bought at both grocery stores and in restaurants. It can be found in a variety of foods including:
- Margarine and shortening (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or vegetable oil shortening)
- Baked goods (muffins, cookies, tortillas)
- Snack foods (crackers, chips, granola bars, popcorn)
- Frozen entrees (pizza, egg rolls, beef patties, waffles)
- Fried foods (french fries, frozen potato products, chicken nuggets, fish sticks)
- Convenience items (taco shells, muffin or cake mixes, hot chocolate mix, coffee whitener)
Why is Trans Fat Bad for You?
Trans fat is bad for you because it raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol at the same time. Studies show that people who eat more artificial trans fat are at a higher risk of heart disease than people who eat less trans fat.
How Can I Avoid Trans Fat?
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, lower-fat milk products, fish, lean meat and meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu. Follow Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.
- Eat fewer processed and packaged foods, and limit fast foods and fried foods.
- Cook, bake and prepare foods with healthier types of fat such as liquid vegetable oils and soft margarines that have no trans fat
- Read and understand nutrition labels
- Find out how much trans fat is in the food you eat at restaurants and fast food outlets and eat smaller portions
Get the Facts - Read the Nutrition Facts on Trans Fat
Read the Nutrition Facts label on products. Look at the Fat component and choose products that have less trans and saturated fats, as in the example below:
Under mandatory nutrition labelling, the Nutrition Facts label on most pre-packaged foods is presented in a standard format making it easy to read. Look under Fat to see the amount of saturated and trans fat in the food.
For information on trans fat regulations for foods sold at school visit our School section.