The Food and Drug Administration requires that trans fat be listed on Nutrition Facts labels, along with saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. What is trans fat? Trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil - a process called hydrogenation, which increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.
Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods made with (or fried in) partially hydrogenated oils. The majority of trans fat is formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats such as shortening and hard margarine. A small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods.
Trans fat, like saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises the LDL cholesterol that increases your risk for heart disease.
Often, food manufacturers post "Zero Trans Fat" on the front of their packages, and many consumers think that eliminates any guesswork about the presence of trans fat. It's a great selling tactic, unless you're an informed consumer. Read on. Look at the area below the Nutrition Facts label to the list of ingredients and search for the words "partially hydrogenated fat." If the Nutrition Facts label above declares zero trans fat, by law the product must contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.