What is Trans Fat?
Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fat is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. However, a small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods. Essentially, trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil -- a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.
Trans fat, like saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises the LDL (or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk for CHD. On average, Americans consume 4 to 5 times as much saturated fat as trans fat in their diet.
Although saturated fat is the main dietary culprit that raises LDL, trans fat and dietary cholesterol also contribute significantly. Trans fat can often be found in processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as vegetable shortenings, some margarines (especially margarines that are harder), crackers, cookies.
Where will I find Trans Fat?
Vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, candies, snack foods, fried foods baked goods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.
Where can I find Trans Fat on the food label?
Take a look at the Nutrition Facts panel on this page. Consumers can find trans fat listed on the Nutrition Facts panel directly under the line for saturated fat. Although some food products already have trans fat on the label, food manufacturers have until January 2006 to list it on all their products.
More info on Trans Fat at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/transfat.html#whatis