Sunday, January 11, 2009

Say NO to Trans Fats

I feel like I need to raise the awareness of industrial process trans fats or also known as partially hydrogenated oil. There was a buzz about the seriousness of trans fats few years ago but have you taken steps to avoid consuming food that contained trans fats?

Trans fats (trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that add hydrogen atoms into the liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid. Partially hydrogenated oils are widely used in commercial because it is cheaper, provide longer shelf life and produce a desirable texture. Most of the trans fats are found in fried and baked goods, such as bread, crackers, donuts, fries, etc. However, it is the most deadly fats out there, much worst than saturated fat. Eating industrial process trans fats will increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL) and thus causes the increase risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc. It is a very BAD fat and you certainly don't want it to be in your body.

Please don't be fooled by the "zero trans fat" or "trans fat free" labels. Under the FDA regulations, if the serving of trans fat is less than 0.5 gram, it shall be declared as zero trans fat. So, if the serving contains 0.48 gram of trans fat, the manufacturer can declared it as zero trans fat in their nutrition facts label. So, even though it said zero trans fat, look under the list of ingredients, if there is partially hydrogenated oil, shortening or hydrogenated oil listed, that means it has trans fat. However, FULLY hydrogenated oil has no trans fat and is considered safe, for example peanut butter.

So, please check the nutrition facts label whenever you pick up a box of your favorite cracker, potato chips or bread and read the ingredient list. I found that most of the famous brands have partially hydrogenated oils in it. Also, don't be fooled by trans fat free shortening because it still uses partially hydrogenated oil, so avoid shortening at all cause. If you take charge of your life and stop buying the products that used partially hydrogenated oils, it will send a message to the manufacturers. Once they see their sales drop, they will ask question, seek a solution and start using fully hydrogenated oil for their products and we all will benefit.

As for fast food chains, KFC and Wendy now use trans fat free oil in frying their food. So, go support the fast food chains that listen to us and made a change (Wendy has been good at being the pioneer in change, change that is good for the consumers). But what about the restaurants? Perhaps we can ask the waiter/waitress what kind of oil was used in the kitchen and avoid ordering fried food. I haven't done this but perhaps I should start asking especially those we frequent often. I know a few chain restaurants have started to use trans fats free oil in their restaurants.

I can considered myself lucky as I am living in the United States where all the food has to be labeled with nutrition facts label and ingredients used. But what about people in Malaysia? What about the Chinese crackers like tau sar piah, hiong piah, biscuit, do they still use shortening in preparing those? Just check or ask whenever is possible.

In conclusion, Trans Fats is lethal, once you consumed it, it will remain in your body and do funny thing, so please take charge of your life today (if you haven't done so) and stop buying any products that have partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated oil and shortening in their ingredients list. Together as a consumer, we can make a difference, we will show them why their sales drop and make them listen to us. In fact, go check the crackers in your pantry right now, I can tell you most have partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list (Most well-known, well-liked brand I tell you!). So, let's us start today by making a difference, together we will win.


Anonymous said...

Just a FYI about Tilapia and Omega-6 since you're on the subject of Trans-fat.

Your avid blog reader

CY said...

This is a great post about trans fats, it's actually quite scary when you start thinking about what is actually in the food we eat.

I suppose the best way to avoid it is to cook fresh food at home and when eating out, do a little research before. The internet is marvelous!

Good on you for raising awareness!


Beachlover said...

it's good to know more about the food we consume are safe..Thanks for the valuable info!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Thanks for the link my avid reader! We don't have heart disease for it to have an adverse effect on our health but after reading this, I better incorporate some fatty fishes in our diet like wild caught salmon, tuna, sardine, trout and mackerel, alternate between fishes. I used canola oil and one serving (1 Tbsp.) of this contains 100% of the 1.3g daily value for ALA omega-3 (1300mg). Still, need to balance thing out a bit even though we don't like salmon and tuna. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids definitely surpass our dislike in the taste of these fatty fishes.

No problem CY. That's why I hardly buy the bakes from the bakery section of the supermarket. I prefer to bake my own cake and cookies because I know what I put in it. :)

You're welcome beachlover! :)

Anonymous said...


I have exacted some information below. However, I do not know how do we read the ingredient. Could you kindly advise if by seeing partially hydrogenated cottonseed means that there is trans fat?
I had seen lots of label with zero transfat including the below item therefore I thought it was safe to purchase & eat them. After seeing your information I was shock. Thank you so much for your information.

All-Vegetable Shortening



Little Corner of Mine said...

Hi Mixue,
Yes,that's mean it has trans fats. Most partially hydrogenated oils are from these two oils, soybean or cottonseed. It's in a lot of popular crackers.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Regarding this sentence in ur post "FULLY hydrogenated oil has no trans fat and is considered safe", I tink it is a mistake? Bcos hydrogenation is a porcess where hydrogen atoms are added to solidify oil. So it is hydrogenated oil. And therefore it is trans fats. So fully hydrogenated oil is unhealthy. Instead, unhydrogenated oil will be better.

Little Corner of Mine said...

From my research, when liquid vegetable oil is FULLY hydrogenated, almost no trans fat remain. The resulting fat has more saturated fat and it is more solid and hard at room temperature and thus additional oil(s) has to be added to make it softer. Trans fats only recreated when partially hydrogenation occurred.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Forgot to add, trans fat naturally occurs in meat, daily products, and many other foods too which could be hard to eliminate. So, eliminating the trans fat from processed food as best as you can is the best bet for now.

Oh Mixue,
The new Crisco no trans-fat shortening that only have FULLY hydrogenated oil and oils (without any partially hydrogenated oil) would be safer than shortening with partially hydrogenated oil. But it might have higher saturated fat per serving.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Thanks for correcting me. So fully hydrogenated oil has no trans fats whereas partially hydrogenated oil are known as trans fats. Then is UNHYDROGENATED vegetable oil healthy??

But there is a scientific journal published by College of Agriculture Sciences, saying that fully hydrogenated oil contains 15-25% trans fats while partially hydrogenated oil contains lesser amount of trans fats.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Unhydrogenated oil just like the normal liquid vegetable oil that we use in cooking. Since no hydrogen is added into the process to make it more solid, it has no trans fat. But oil is still oil, no trans fat doesn't mean it's healthy because there is still saturated fat. But, oil high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat is said to be healthier. Please do a search on the Internet to read more about it.

Can you please send me the link to that journal that said FULLY hydrogenated oil has 15-25% of trans fat? I have read otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The journal is here:

If u cant access to it, go to google and type 'Unhydrogenated vegetable oil". It is the first link. And u hv to view it in PDF format.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Thanks for the link. But it didn't state FULLY hydrogenated vegetable oil, it merely state hydrogenated vegetable oil. Hydrogenation in any state will produce trans fatty acids, unless the hydrogenation process is carried out 100%, totality, fully then it only produced saturated fat and no trans fat. In another word, food that has no trans fat might be higher in saturated fat, thus it is still as bad to consume for the high cholesterol or people with coronary heart disease. Moderation is still the key, eat everything high in saturated fat in moderation and avoid industry-produced trans fat to a minimum (as close to zero as possible, don't exceed the per serving amount stated).

Read this link: