What Foods Are High In Trans Fat? 12 Daily Foods To Avoid

Trans fats are dietary fat that occurs naturally in animal products or is added artificially to some products. Eating trans food can have a destructive impact on your health. But, how would you know what foods are high in trans fat?

Fried foods, baked items, and meat are typically high in unsaturated fat. Trans fat significantly raises bad cholesterol levels in the blood while decreasing good cholesterol levels, resulting in heart disease, weight gain, and other health risks.

Here is the list of unhealthy fat-rich foods you should avoid eating in higher amounts.

What Foods Are High in Trans Fat?

As a natural source, trans food is widely present in animal products. However, some manufacturers use trans fats like partially hydrogenated oil in their edible goods to extend their shelf life and improve their taste. Foods that contain vegetable oil, are fried in hydrogenated oil, or are made from dairy products are believed to have a high trans fat level. Following is the list of fat-rich foods that you should avoid.

Microwave Popcorn

Microwave Popcorn

Some microwaveable popcorn variants contain vegetable oils that allow them to pop at low temperatures. Because vegetable oil is often dense in trans fat, your lightweight popcorn will be highly high in unhealthy fats.

Despite the FDA’s prohibition against the use of trans fat in commercial popcorn, several companies continue to use it. Therefore, it is better to choose one with low sodium and trans-fat-free oil.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a healthy version of popcorn, you can make your own in an air popper. It is a delicious, inexpensive, and simple recipe.

Microwave Popcorn Fat Profile

Serving Size1 bag (87 g)
Total Fat26g
Trans Fat0.7g
Saturated Fat13g
Polyunsaturated Fats3.6g
Monounsaturated Fats0.3g

Frozen Pizza

Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizza is the most preferred meal among children and teenagers. Unfortunately, it is exceptionally high in fat, calories, and refined carbohydrates.

Since too much oil is used in making pizza dough and sauces, which can increase the caloric and unsaturated fat content. Furthermore, pizza dough is primarily made from refined flour, typically high in trans fat. Aside from them, processed meat and cheese used in pizzas are substantial fat sources.

As a result, we may conclude that pizza, particularly frozen pizza, is a harmful source of fat for you.

Frozen Pizza Fat Profile

Serving Size215g
Total Fat26g
Saturated Fat9.2g
Polyunsaturated Fats4.1g
Monounsaturated Fats9.1g

Margarine

Margarine is another food that is high in unhealthy fats. Unlike butter, margarine is made from vegetable oils, containing a high concentration of unsaturated fats. Since margarine is high in fat, you should not use it.

It has been associated with a number of heart and blood vessel diseases. It can elevate harmful cholesterol levels in the body and make platelets thicker, increasing the risk of heart attacks and hemorrhages.

Margarine Fat Profile

Serving Size1 tbsp (14g)
Total Fat11g
Trans Fat2.1g
Saturated Fat2.2g
Polyunsaturated Fats3.5g
Monounsaturated Fats5.5g

Fried Foods

Fried Foods

Just like processed foods and frozen pizzas, fried foods are a super-rich source of trans fats and calories. Foods such as fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, and french fries are typically cooked in vegetable oils at high temperatures, which greatly increases the fat content of the fried goods. It is best to eat fried food in moderation, or you better eat grilled, steamed, air dried, or roasted foods.

Fried Food (Fried Chicken) Fat Profile

Serving Size1 piece (140 g)
Total Fat21 g
Trans fat0.1 g
Saturated Fat5.7g
Polyunsaturated Fats4.8g
Monounsaturated Fats8.2g

Fast Foods

Fast Foods

Burgers, doughnuts, pizzas, fries, waffles, sandwiches, soft drinks, and a variety of other fast foods are high in trans fat. Fast food is typically heavy in carbohydrates, harmful fats, sodium, and calories, while low in fiber, protein, and essential minerals.

Importantly, avoid french fries and nuggets since they are high in artery-clogging “trans” fats, which can lead to heart attack and other blood vessel diseases.

Furthermore, consuming fast food on a daily basis leads to unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which in turn leads to a variety of major health problems.

Fast Food (French Fries) Fat Profile

Serving Size1 medium size (117g)
Total Fat17g
Trans Fat0.1g
Saturated Fat2.7g
Polyunsaturated Fats6.3g
Monounsaturated Fats7g

Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer

Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer

Non-dairy coffee creamer does not have any dairy ingredients as compared to dairy coffee creamer. It is instead generated from the milk protein “casein.” Normally, dairy products contain fats, but some of the additives in non-dairy creamer make it high in trans fats.

It is often made up of vegetable oil, sugar, corn syrup, flavorings, and lecithin, which considerably increases its fat content. Therefore, you should be mindful of your coffee creamer. Otherwise, you can gain weight and other health-related risks.

Non-dairy Coffee Creamer Fat Profile

Serving Size 3 tbsp (6g)
Total Fat1.5g
Trans Fat0g
Saturated Fat1.5g

Shortening

Shortening

Shortening is a solid fat that provides foodstuffs with a crumbly, crisp consistency. Butters, margarine, vegetable oils, and lards are all examples of shortening.

In general, vegetable shortenings contain more trans fat than others. It has partially hydrogenated vegetable oil that is responsible for its high-fat percentage.

If you want to use it, you should go with fully hydrogenated oil and trans-fat-free shortening.

Shortening Fat Profile

Serving Size1 tbsp (13g)
Total Fat13g
Saturated Fat5.2g
Polyunsaturated Fats1.4g
Monounsaturated Fats5.7g

Certain Vegetable Oils

Certain Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils are definitely high in trans fats, especially if partially hydrogenated. Because vegetable oil is frequently used in cooking nowadays, you are more likely to consume harmful fat.

To avoid consuming an unhealthy quantity of fat, avoid using partially hydrogenated oils. Instead, you can choose healthier cooking oils such as virgin olive oil or coconut oil, lower in trans fats than vegetable oils.

Vegetable Oil Fat Profile

Serving Size1 tbsp (14g)
Total Fat14g
Trans Fat0.3g
Saturated Fat1g
Polyunsaturated Fats9g
Monounsaturated Fats3.1g

Bakery Products

Bakery Products

Baked goods and fried foods are generous in unhealthy trans fats or saturated fats. Fats are widely used in baking to tenderize the foodstuff. These fats are likely to be absorbed by your body. 

Pie crusts, puff pastries, doughnuts, napoleons, bread, cakes, and other bakery products are typically made with vegetable shortening or margarine. 

Furthermore, manufacturers use refined grains, refined sugars, chemicals, and other addictive ingredients, which raise the trans fatty acid concentration. 

Regular consumption of trans fats leads to obesity, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.

Pie Crust Fat Profile

Serving Size1 pie crust (154g)
Total Fat44g
Saturated Fat14g
Polyunsaturated Fats5.5g
Monounsaturated Fats21g

Battered Fish

Battered Fish

Traditionally, battered fish is a form of the fried dish. In this recipe, fish is often dipped in a mixture of flour, eggs, milk, and seasonings before being cooked in hot oil. Also, you can air fry or grill it. In any case, the oil added too many unhealthy trans fats to battered fish, sometimes known as fish sticks. However, you should limit your intake of battered seafood.

Battered Fish Fat Profile

Serving Size1 piece (92g)
Total Fat14.5g
Saturated Fat5.2g

Ready-Made Frosting

Ready-Made Frosting

The pre-made or canned frosting is often manufactured with partly hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Furthermore, it contains a lot of sugar. These elements contribute to a high trans fat level in them, which eventually raises the fat with which it is paired. Therefore, it is best to avoid using pre-made cake frosting or canned items.

Frosting Fat Profile

Serving Size2 tbsp creamy frosting (41g)
Total Fat7.2g
Saturated Fat2.3g
Polyunsaturated Fats0.9g
Monounsaturated Fats3.7g

Dairy and Meat

Naturally, dairy products such as milk, buttermilk, cheese, and creamers are high in trans fats. Similarly, meats such as pork, beef, lamb, and poultry are very high in unsaturated fats. Moreover, fish, cattle, and goats may also contribute to trans fat gain. 

Foods made from animal products are more likely to be high in fats. However, it is generally believed that natural fat is less harmful than artificial fats. Anyhow, you should avoid eating it in excess; instead, you should consider low-fat dairy products and lean meat. 

Taking dairy and meat products in excess leads to a rise in cholesterol levels, which causes many heart, stomach, and blood vessels disorders. 

Dairy Milk Fat Profile

Serving Size1 cup (244g)
Total Fat4.8g
Trans Fat0.2g
Saturated Fat3.1g
Polyunsaturated Fats0.2g
Monounsaturated Fats1.4g

Pork Fat Profile

Serving Size3 oz (85g)
Total Fat12g
Trans Fat0.1g
Saturated Fat4.2g
Polyunsaturated Fats1.3g
Monounsaturated Fats5.1g

Does Butter Have Trans Fat?

Butter is an emulsion of fat globules, water, and casein proteins. It usually contains relatively low trans fats than margarine. It is prepared by churning cream or milk, which separates the solid fats from the liquid, known as buttermilk.

Butter was long thought to be harmful to one’s health since it contains saturated fats, which were supposed to cause heart disease. However, this has been shown false, as the butter has been found to have numerous health benefits. It contains vitamins A, D, and E, not found in other foods. Also, it’s high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known to lower the risk of heart disease.

Moreover, the amount of fat in industrial butter varies according to the fat level of the milk or cream used to manufacture it. Some producers add other additives to their butter, such as salt or vegetable oil, which may somewhat alter the fat profile.

Do All Fried Foods Have Trans Fat?

Indeed, yes! All fried foods contain some amount of trans fat because they are cooked in fat-containing oil. However, not all types of trans fats need to be unhealthy. For instance, in the case of animal products, most notably in grass-fed animals, they have two types of trans fats, vaccenic acid and rumenic acid. These types of trans fatty acids are known to lower heart disease.

How Do I Eliminate Trans Fat From My Diet?

Trans fat can lead to many unwanted illnesses such as obesity, clogged arteries, and an imbalance in hormones. Therefore, you should better eliminate or limit its intake. Following are a few practical tips to completely eliminate synthetic trans fat from your diet:

  • Avoid eating processed foods; instead, eat whole foods. For instance, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, lean poultry, whole grains, nuts, beans, and plant milk.
  • Avoid eating baked goods, fried goods, and bakery products with high content of bad fats. 
  • Swap vegetable shortenings and margarine sticks with olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Carefully read the food label before purchasing the food items, and avoid the ones that have partially hydrogenated oil as the ingredient.
  • Avoid fried food at a party; instead, eat grilled, boiled, or steamed food. 
  • Limit your dairy intake. 

FAQs

Why are trans fats bad for you?

Trans fats lower the level of good cholesterol while raising the bad cholesterol in the body, which eventually results in heart or brain blood vessel blocking, and hemorrhages. In severe cases, it can be fatal. 

How to avoid trans fats?

You can avoid trans fats by swapping synthetic oils with natural plant oil, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc. Moreover, avoid processed items and bakery goods. Apart from these, limit your dairy and meat consumption as well. 

How do you identify trans fats?

Before buying the food goods, you can read the food label to determine their fat content. The FDA compels food manufacturers to indicate the quantity of trans fat in their products, but only if it is half a gram or more per serving. Manufacturers can list food as having 0 grams of trans fat on its nutrition facts label if the serving contains fewer than 0.5 grams.

Conclusion 

People nowadays are more knowledgeable than ever about what they eat and which foods are best for their diet. However, one aspect that is gaining attention is the consumption of trans fats in the diet. Check out the above list of “what foods are high in trans fat “to start your quest. These foods are extremely high in trans fat content, you should avoid them.

Aneeza Pervez

Aneeza Pervez

Hello, I'm Aneeza Pervez. Writing about mental health, wellness and a healthy lifestyle is something I specialize in. I also enjoy traveling, reading, entertaining, and composing. As a health advocate, I create content that educates people about how to be healthy. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

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