Considered by Most Nutritionists to be the Worst of the Fats.
Trans Fatty Acid
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Trans fats are most commonly formed when a liquid oil is converted into a more solid fat. Converting oils to another physical state is most often accomplished by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process called Hydrogenation. The resultant solid trans fats are less likely to spoil and helps manufactured foods stay fresh longer, which means a longer shelf life. They also have a less greasy feel. Examples of converted oil products are Shortening and Margarine.

Commercially baked crackers, cookies and cakes (not those baked at home with better fats and oils), typically can contain trans fats. Many commercially fried foods ( again, not those made at home with better oils), also can contain trans fats. The type of oil or fat used to make the product determines its level of trans fat. The biggest clue that a commercially produced product contains trans fats is if the ingredient list contains “partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil or “Shortening” both of which are so high in trans fats that they might as well be synonyms. Strangely, “fully” or “completely” hydrogenated oil does not contain trans fat. The full hydrogenation process, unlike the partial process, doesn't yield trans-fatty acids. However, if the label says just "hydrogenated" vegetable oil, it could mean the oil contains some trans fat. Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, it's the trans fats in processed foods that seem to be the most harmful to heart health.

Nutrition

Trans fat is considered by some doctors to be the worst fat of them all because of its dual impact on your cholesterol levels. According to the Mayo Clinic “unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol. A high-LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.” Several large studies indicate a link between consumption of high amounts of trans fat and coronary heart disease and possibly some other diseases. Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, it's the trans fats in processed foods that seem to be the most harmful to heart health. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association (AHA) all have recommended limiting the intake of trans fats.

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than fats from naturally occurring oils.

The biggest clue that a commercially produced product contains trans fats is if the ingredient list contains “partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil or “Shortening” both of which are so high in trans fats that they might as well be synonyms for it. If the label says just "hydrogenated" vegetable oil, the product could still contain some trans fat.

It sounds counter-intuitive but "fully" or "completely" hydrogenated oil doesn't contain trans fat. Unlike partially hydrogenated oil, the process used to make fully or completely hydrogenated oil doesn't result in trans-fatty acids.