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Your Groceries Have Trans Fats

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By Dana Leigh Smith

Foods marketed as “trans fat free” are a lot like that frenemy you didn't know you had. You know, the one that acts like she would never hurt you while secretly smearing your good name all over town.

In this scenario though, “trans fat free” foods are secretly filling your body with the very ingredient they claim to shun, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, 37 percent of grocery store items still contain trans fat, according to a recent Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis. And the biggest source of the villainous nutrient: foods that claim they don’t contain trans fats.

After analysis, the EWG found that of more than 87,000 foods, 27% were laden with trans fats, while an additional 10% were found to likely have trans fat. What’s worse, more than 400 foods were found to have four or more grams of trans fat per serving—that’s 50 percent more than the American Heart Association suggests we consume in an entire day. Breakfast sandwiches, pastries, frozen desserts like cakes and pies, cheese sauce and popcorn were among the biggest sources.

To ensure you keep trans-fat-laden products out of your shopping cart and your diet, take time to read the ingredient list—even if the food is splashed with a “Trans-Fat Free” claim or doesn’t list the fat on the nutrition panel. If a product contains “partially hydrogenated oil,” ”hydrogenated oils,” “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” or “vegetable shortening,” put it back on the shelf. Foods that contain soybean, canola, cottonseed and corn oil may also be a source, according to the report. To err on the side of caution, try your best to avoid those ingredients as well.