Food With Trans Fat List


The following is a list of food with trans fat. The Trans fatty acids are a chemical that makes up the fat and oils in processed foods and is responsible for the hardening of butter, margarine and snack crackers. Processed foods is a primary source of these harmful fats. Many people don’t even realize how many dangerous.

What Are Trans Fats?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is taking steps to further reduce artificial trans fat from processed food. The following Q&A with Institute of Food Technologists President-Elect, Mary Ellen Camire, PhD, CFS explains what consumers need to know about trans fat.

Q: What are trans fats and what do they do?

A: Trans fats are part of partially hydrogenated fats used to help stabilize foods for storage and also create the desired texture and baking properties of foods. Examples include, providing the creaminess in icings and stability in cookies. 

Q: What happens when you take them out?
A: If you use vegetable oil when you make a cookie, the cookie tends to be runny and flat. If you want a nice fluffy cookie, you need to use a solid fat. The problem is we were trying to get away from solid fats because they contain saturated fats. 

Q: Why were trans fats used in the first place?
A: Originally, they were designed to help make food products more healthful as an alternative to saturated fats which we know are not good for cardiovascular disease. Food companies began introducing them into more products, because they help contribute to foods being more stable and lasting longer, and you reduce food waste, so they were very popular.

As people began to realize that the process to transform the oils into fats produced some of these trans fatty acids, they became concerned about the role of these acids in health because they’re not found commonly in nature. Over the years there has been more evidence suggesting that these trans fatty acids may be bad for cardiovascular health as well.

Q: What have companies been doing so far?
A:  So far food companies have been switching out and using more saturated forms of fat: butter, cocoa fat, palm oil, other sources that tend to be more stable and have more of a solid nature.  In some cases, they are completely reformulating the product.

6 Ways to Eliminate Trans Fats in Your Family’s Diet

Trans fats, found in processed foods, are an inexpensive way to extend the shelf life of foods. While trans fats have been helpful for food manufacturers, they’re considered harmful for humans—which is why it’s so important to eliminate trans fats in your family’s diet. They are unnaturally produced through the process of hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil. This process converts the oil into a solid fat at room temperature.

Trans fats are most often found in fried foods, savory snacks, frozen pizzas, baked goods, margarines, ready-made frosting, and coffee creamers.

Consuming trans fats has been linked to increased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, lowered levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and increased plaque in blood vessel walls. This increases the risk for developing heart disease. the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that these partially hydrogenated oils are not safe for human consumption. Earlier this year, the FDA ban on trans fats began. The FDA has estimated that this ban on trans fats may prevent as many as 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths in the U.S. annually. The World Health Organization has called for a worldwide ban of artificial trans fats by 2023.

While the ban on trans fats has already begun in the United States, manufacturers in some cases have been given an extension on the compliance date to 2020.

Ways to avoid eating foods that contain trans fats

  1. Eat more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, fish, nuts, and lean poultry. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid inner aisles where you’re more likely to find processed foods that may contain trans fats.
  2. Cut back on consumption of processed foods. Eat these foods less often and in smaller portions.
  3. Not all processed foods contain trans fats. When you do eat processed foods, avoid processed foods known to contain trans fats such as chips, cookies, donuts, icing, cakes, biscuits, microwave popcorn, crackers, fried fast foods and frozen pizzas.
  4. Read food labels and avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oil listed as an ingredient.
  5. Avoid stick margarine and vegetable shortening. Swap this for olive oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil when baking or preparing meals at home.
  6. Whether dining in or out, avoid fried foods. Choose foods that are baked, steamed, broiled, or grilled.

Is saturated or unsaturated fat better for health?

The general consensus between dietitians, nutritionists, and other experts is that saturated fat is less healthful than unsaturated fat. However, the overall health impact of saturated fat remains controversial. Some researchers believe it may increase the risk of heart disease, while others believe moderate amounts might benefit overall health.

According to findings from a 2015 analysis, reducing saturated fat intake may produce a “small but potentially important” decrease in the risk for heart disease. The authors suggest that people reduce their intake of saturated fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats.

Fat is an essential nutrient that the body needs to function fully. Fats in the diet help the body absorb vitamins and minerals and serve other vital roles. Fat stored in body tissues is critical for:

  • energy storage and metabolism
  • body temperature regulation
  • insulation of the vital organs

However, a diet with too much fat can increase body weight along with a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get between 20–35% of their daily calories from fats. However, saturated fats should account for no more than 5–6% of a person’s daily calorie intake.

In this article, we look at the differences between saturated and unsaturated fat, the roles they play in the body, and which foods provide them.

Which fat is best?

a woman looking at milk in at supermarket and wondering which contain saturated or unsaturated fats
A person can opt for low fat milk as part of a heart-healthy diet.

Most fatty foods contain a combination of fatty acids. As such, many foods do not contain just saturated or unsaturated fats, which can make it difficult for a person to eliminate only one type.

Most health organizations and dietary experts recommend eating saturated fats in moderation and replacing them with unsaturated fats when possible.

The American Heart Association (AHA) strongly recommend a saturated fat intake of no more than 5–6% of total daily calories. This means that for an average 2000-calorie daily diet, people should consume no more than 120 calories or 13 grams (g) from saturated fats.

Some research from 2014 and 2018 supported a higher intake of MCT saturated fats, such as from coconut oil. However, a comprehensive 2020 analysis found that coconut oil intake produces higher LDL levels than vegetable oils.

People with existing heart problems should speak to a doctor before adding new saturated fats to their diet.

Saturated vs. unsaturated fats

Researchers have studied the health effects of saturated and unsaturated fats for decades.

A 2017 scientific review reported an association between people who have heart disease or a risk of heart problems and those who consume higher amounts of saturated fats in their diet.

The researchers reported that saturated fats may increase levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Elevated LDL cholesterol in the blood may increase a person’s risk of heart disease.

The study authors also reported that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat may also bring down the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

However, recent research has challenged the link between saturated fats and heart disease. A 2019 review did not record any significant effects of reducing saturated fat on people’s risk of heart disease. Trans fats, however, did increase the risk.

The jury is still out on saturated fat. While a diet containing too many saturated fats can increase body weight and the risk of CVD, it might not be as harmful as scientists once thought.

In contrast, the health benefits of unsaturated fats are well-established. The first evidence of their “heart-healthful” properties dates back to the 1960s. Researchers found that people from Greece and other Mediterranean regions had a low rate of heart disease compared to other locations despite consuming a relatively high-fat diet.

Unsaturated fats help lower a person’s levels of LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and build stronger cell membranes in the body. They may also help a person reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a 2014 study.

Dietary fat and its types

Nutrition experts classify fats into three main groups: Saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.

Saturated fat

These fats have single bonds between their molecules and are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules. They tend to be solid at room temperature.

Food sources that contain high levels of saturated fat include meat and dairy products, such as:

  • cheese
  • butter
  • ice-cream
  • high-fat cuts of meat
  • coconut oil
  • palm oil

A 2015 meta-analysis found that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) might be the most healthful type of saturated fat. Coconut, for example, provides plenty of MCTs.

Unsaturated fat

Unsaturated fats contain one or more double or triple bonds between the molecules. These fats are liquid at room temperature in oil form. They also occur in solid foods.

This group breaks down further into two categories, called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Dietary sources of unsaturated fats include:

  • avocados and avocado oil
  • olives and olive oil
  • peanut butter and peanut oil
  • vegetable oils, such as sunflower, corn, or canola
  • fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
  • nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sesame seeds

Mediterranean diets are typically high fat but have links to good heart health. Learn more about this diet here.

Trans fat

These fats take a liquid form that converts to solid fats during food processing techniques.

Some meats and dairy products contain small amounts of trans fats, but they play a role in processed foods.

However, since 2015, the Food and Drug AdministrationTrusted Source (FDA) has taken steps to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), a significant source of trans fats, from processed food. Manufacturers had until the beginning of 2020 to stop adding PHOs to their food products.

Examples of food products that may still contain trans fats include cookies, crackers, doughnuts, and fried foods. However, trans fats are becoming less and less present.

For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.

Tips for a fat-healthy diet

Some easy ways for people to balance their dietary intake of fats include:

  • Choosing low fat milk instead of whole milk, or lean meat instead of fatty cuts of meat.
  • Being cautious about foods that claim to be fat-free or low in fat. Many of these products contain added sugars and refined carbohydrates to replace the fats. These ingredients can increase caloric intake without any extra nutritional value.
  • Limiting intake of processed foods, as these may be high in trans fats and sodium.
  • Grilling, baking, or steaming foods instead of deep-frying them.
  • Switching to healthful fats. Foods such as sardines, avocado, and walnuts provide a good amount of unsaturated fats. These may support brain development, strengthen the immune system, and improve heart health.


Despite the abundance of research on dietary fats, there are still questions regarding the relationship between saturated fats and adverse health outcomes, such as heart disease.

However, many experts agree that limiting the intake of most saturated fats and consuming enough unsaturated fats, such as plant oils, avocado, and fish, is the ideal approach to a healthful diet in the long-term.

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