What Is Trans Fat And Why Am I Not Supposed To Have It?

Published: August 12, 2013
Dear What Is Trans Fat And Why Am I Not Supposed To Have It?,
What is trans fat and why am I not supposed to have it?

Dear What Is Trans Fat And Why Am I Not Supposed To Have It?,

Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. This process was developed as a way to preserve the oil – that is, make it last longer. Proponents of trans fats found that using this type of fat helped foods stay fresh longer, giving those foods a longer shelf life before they spoil. Commercial baked foods (such as crackers, cookies and cakes), friend foods (like doughnuts and French fries), and shortenings and margarines often contain trans fats.

The concern about trans fat is that it raises your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lowers your “good” cholesterol (HDL). When this occurs, your risk of heart disease goes up.

Because of the health concerns connected with ingesting trans fats, manufacturers have been using it less in food. But it is still out there, so it is a good idea to read food labels and stay away from things with trans fats. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” then that means the food does contain trans fat. If the label says “hydrogenated oil” it may contain trans fat. If the label reads “fully” or “completely” hydrogenated oil, you are ok – there is no trans fat.

If you have any other questions or concerns about trans fat or your diet in general, FX recommends that you speak to your doctor about it. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.