What are the sources of harmful trans fats?

sources of trans fats

In our earlier post we had a look at how trans fats can cause adverse effects on our health. In this post we’ll look at sources of trans fats – visible as well as invisible.

There are two main sources of dietary trans fatty acids. Naturally occurring trans fat is found in small amounts in the fatty parts of meat and dairy products. Artificial trans fat comes from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil and is formed when hydrogen is added to liquid oil turning it into solid fat.
The amount of Trans fat can vary within food categories:

Food categoryRange of trans fat per serving (g)

Margarine and spreads 0.0-3.0 g

Cookies 0.0-3.5 g

Frozen pies 0.0-4.5 g

Frozen pizza 0.0-5.0 g

Savory Snacks 0.0-7.0 g

Vanaspati 35g/100g

  • One McDonald’s large fries contains 8 grams of trans fat.
  • A McDonald’s apple pie contains 4.5 grams of trans fat.
  • Four Girl Scout shortbread cookies contain 1.5 grams of trans fat.
  • A large order of KFC Popcorn Chicken contains 7 grams of trans fat.
  • KFC’s Chicken Pot Pie contains 14 grams of trans fat.
  • A typical 3-piece KFC Extra Crispy combo meal, with a drumstick, two thighs, potato wedges, and a biscuit contains 15 grams of trans fat.


Be aware of how to avoid trans fats:

  • Read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list to compare foods.
    • Choose products with 0 grams trans fat.
    • Check the Ingredient List to see if there is any partially hydrogenated oil in the product.
    • Because products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as having 0 grams trans fat, checking the Ingredient List is important to avoid all artificial trans fat.
  • Use monounsaturated fat (canola and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fat (soybean, corn, and sunflower oil) in recipes that call for fat.
  • A good way to avoid trans fat is to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Choose restaurants that do not use partially hydrogenated oil to prepare food. Avoid foods that may have been deep fried in hydrogenated oils. Also, oil used again and again for frying also contains high amounts of trans fats.