Cut Out Trans Fats

What Are Trans Fats?

Trans fats are naturally found in some foods, usually in very small amounts. Trans fats can also be created when liquid vegetable oils are changed into solid or semi-solid margarines, shortenings or other hard fats. This food processing technique is called hydrogenation.

Hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are sold on their own in tubs or blocks. These are popular with food manufacturers because trans fats have a long shelf life.

Hydrogenated margarines and shortenings with trans fats are used in a wide variety of foods, including French fries, microwave popcorn, baked goods (for example, muffins, cakes, pastries and bagels), crackers, cookies, soup noodles, snack foods, and flavoured coffee creamers.

Why Should I Worry About Trans Fats?

Trans fats, especially the hydrogenated type, can increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol in your body. This kind of cholesterol can clog your blood vessels. This clogging increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Avoid trans fats, if possible.

What Can I Do to Avoid Trans Fats?

  • Read food labels to see which foods contain trans fats.
    • If you see the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” vegetable oil or shortening in the ingredient list, the food contains trans fats. Foods with hydrogenated oils include:
      • high fat baked goods: cakes, donuts, cookies, and store-bought muffins
      • microwave popcorn
    • Look for foods with 0 grams trans fat in the Nutrition Facts table on the food label.
  • Choose foods that aren’t processed or packaged.

Learn More

See the The Lowdown on Fats for more information on Fats and Health.

Health Canada’s Dietary Fat: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly offers practical solutions for cutting back on trans fats at home, in the grocery store and when you eat on the run.

Healthy Eating in the Community