Trans fats occur naturally in some foods, such as dairy products and meats, but now manufacturers are using them as preservatives in other products.
Proper labeling is the best way for consumers to be wary of consuming too many trans fats, dietician Molly Gee recently told the Baylor College of Medicine. By law, all food products must now note the use of any trans fats. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) and lower good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein), which can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease.
"You want to consume as little trans fat as possible," added Gee. "Avoid processed foods and eat more whole grains such as oats and brown rice."
Also noteworthy is the fact that even products that say they have no trans fats could actually contain some. Due to a loophole in the system, food manufacturers are only required to disclose trans fat content if the product contains more than 0.5 grams per serving.
With many brands trying to appeal to heart-healthy Americans, companies may be able to gain a few more sales by noting whether their products have trans fats.