Health

You're eating more trans-fat than you think you are

Aug. 28, 2014 at 2:51 PM ET

You’re getting more trans-fat than you think you are in processed foods, a new study shows. Many foods labeled trans-fat-free in fact do contain some of the artery-clogging gunk, a team at the New York health department found.

A check of 4,340 top-selling packaged foods shows that 9 percent of them contain partially hydrogenated oils — the chemically hardened oils that are the source of trans-fats. Of of these, 84 percent proclaimed themselves free of trans-fats, with “0 grams."

“This labeling is cause for concern because consumers, seeing the 0 g trans-fat on the Nutrition Facts label, are probably unaware that they are consuming trans-fat,” Jenifer Clapp of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and colleagues wrote in their report.

Many studies have shown that trans-fats, produced when liquid fats are made to be solid like butter, are as damaging to arteries as saturated fats such as butter and lard. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the main dietary source of industrial trans-fat, are not ‘generally recognized as safe’ for consumption,” Clapp’s team writes in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

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- Maggie Fox

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