I’ve selected the following foods that contain trans fats as you probably eat them, or know someone that does. No matter how many calories you eat per day, the amount of trans fat you should eat should be as little as possible! There are two kinds of trans fats - the naturally occurring kind and the artificial kind, created in a factory by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils (making them more solid). Research has proven that trans fats raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower your good ones (HDL), thereby increasing your chances of developing not only coronary heart disease, but having a stroke or Type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends consuming little to no more than 2 grams of trans fats per day. I've listed some common foods that contain trans fats, in order of the quantity of trans fats per serving.
Nabisco’s Premium Saltines, Stoned Wheat Thins, and Ritz Crackers, are all foods that contain trans fats with levels of 0.5 grams, per serving. Companies by law (in the States), can round down the quantity of trans fats, therefore, products can list “0 grams of trans fats,” on the packaging, even if it contains more (but only up to, and including 0.5 grams of trans fats, per serving). This is something to consider when you're eating a handful of these crackers for small quantities soon add up. Look for processed foods made with un-hydrogenated oils instead, rather than partially hydrogenated, or any type of hydrogenated vegetable oils, like Stacy's Pita Chips or Annie's Bunnies - both brands are trans fat free!
2. Slim Jim
Most salami meat sticks contain 1 to 2 grams of trans fats per serving, which is your daily serving right there! Even the original Slim Jim small sticks contain trans fats (for trans fats occur naturally in beef, even in minute amounts - read point number 6 of this article). Aim to eat more plant-based snacks, like fruits and raw veggies instead.
3. Cake Frosting
That delicious, and oh so pretty cake frosting you buy in tubs at grocery stores typically contains shortening, indicating there are trace amounts of trans fats (even if it states by law that it is free from trans fats). Duncan Hines has approximately 1.5 grams of trans fats per serving and Betty Crocker has roughly 2 grams per serving. I say make your own icing by using a good-quality margarine (with no hydrogenated vegetable oils) or old-fashioned butter!
Store-bought cookies like Chips Ahoy!, Nilla Wafers, Carr’s Ginger Cremes and the pre-made cookie dough (which I love by the way) contain 2 grams of trans fats per serving, sometimes more. Trans fats are included in cookies to help stabilize them, so they can sit on supermarket shelves for longer periods of time. You’re in luck with Oreos though, for they never use trans fats in their cookies. Most cookies frequently contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, so it’s worth checking the ingredients list to make sure.
5. Refrigerated Packaged Rolls
Pillsbury's Refrigerated Grands! and Homestyle Buttermilk Rolls contain 3 grams of trans fats each. Most processed pastry goods contain some quantity of trans fats (even those frozen pie shells you buy at Thanksgiving, to make your pumpkin and pecan pies). Actually, many fast food restaurants (Burger King and McDonald’s) offer rolls that are trans fat free now; even Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls are trans fat free!
6. Ground Beef
The trans fats occurring in ground beef tend to be of the naturally-occurring kind. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals, and therefore foods made from these animals (particularly cows and sheep) contain small quantities of these fats. For every pound of ground beef, there is 8 grams of trans fats. As much as you can’t really avoid them, trans fats in meat and dairy are only a major concern if you’re someone who eats large quantities of full-fat dairy and meat.
7. Frozen Treats and Ice Creams
Krispy Kreme’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Arctic Avalanche frozen treat has 9 grams of trans fats per serving! The most amount of trans fats per serving among the foods in this article. Fast food restaurants that serve milkshakes and hot chocolates are loaded with calories, particularly if they're laden with whipped cream, and they're also rich in trans fats too.
I say eat a diet of fresh, wholesome ingredients, limit the amount of processed foods in your diet, and choose the lowest-trans fat variety to limit your chance of ingesting harmful trans fats. Did you know about these foods containing trans fats? Which one will you wipe out of your diet, now you know they contain harmful trans fats?
Source: WebMD.com, Health.com, Heart.org, livestrong.com