Trans Fat

Most of the trans fat in the foods we eat is formed through a manufacturing process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which converts the liquid into a solid fat at room temperature. This process is called hydrogenation.

Partially hydrogenated oils are the major source of artificial trans fats in the food supply. They are the most often used source of fat in commercial baked goods because they don’t spoil as quickly as other fats and have a longer shelf life.

Artificial trans fat can be found in many of the same foods as saturated fat, including:

  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pies, and crackers)
  • Ready-to-use frostings
  • Snack food (such as potato chips and microwave popcorn)
  • Fried food typically found in fast food restaurants (such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts)
  • Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and frozen pizza)
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Stick margarine
  • Coffee creamer

Eating trans fat raises the level of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood. An elevated LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S.

Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. FDA has taken steps to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods. For more information, see Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat).


Page Last Updated: 11/26/2017
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.
Language Assistance Available: Español | 繁體中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Русский | العربية | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | 日本語 | فارسی | English