New recipes

13 Foods Highest in Trans Fats

13 Foods Highest in Trans Fats

In a simpler time, we were told to avoid foods that were high in fat. But then we learned that there are many different types of fats, including some, like olive oil, that are good for you. There’s one variety of fat, however, that’s worse for you than all the others, and it’s one you should try to avoid at all costs: trans fats. To make it easier to know which foods contain this toxin, we’ve rounded up the 13 foods that you’re most likely to find them in.

13 Foods Highest in Trans Fats (Slideshow)

So what is trans fat, exactly? Essentially, it’s the type of fat that’s created when hydrogen is added to the chemical structure of a fat, typically vegetable oil. The addition of hydrogen helps to make the fat (and therefore the food it’s used in) more shelf-stable, preventing it from easily spoiling when left out unrefrigerated. Partial hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to fat) also creates a semi-solid fat, which is necessary in order to prevent foods from melting at room temperature. Partially hydrogenated oil is also much cheaper than butter, lard, or other semi-solid fats like palm oil. Trans fats also take much longer to go rancid than traditional fats, making partially-hydrogenated oil a favorite frying oil for restaurants.

Trans fats actually occur naturally in animal fat and dairy, but at much smaller concentrations than the amount used in processed foods. Trans fats also have no nutritional value. While saturated fat (most commonly found in animal fat and cheese) and trans fats increase levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol), trans fats actually decrease the level of HDL (“good” cholesterol) in the bloodstream, increasing the risk of heart disease. While it’s impossible to completely avoid all trans fats due to their presence in nature, the National Academy of Sciences advises cutting them out of your diet as much as possible, and the best place to start is avoiding all foods with the phrase “partially hydrogenated” anywhere in the ingredients list.

So what exactly are the risks associated with eating too much trans fat? We’re glad you asked! A diet high in trans fats can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Studies have also indicated that increased trans fat consumption may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, prostate and breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, liver dysfunction, infertility, depression, and even aggression.

Read on to learn which 13 foods are the highest in trans fats. And even if the nutrition label says there’s no trans fat, brands are allowed to round down to zero if there’s less than half a gram. So check the ingredients: if there’s anything there that’s partially hydrogenated, that means trans fats are present and you should probably buy something else.

Deep-Fried Food

Because partially hydrogenated oil lasts longer without going rancid, many restaurants deep-fry with it. Most fast food chains have made the switch to non-hydrogenated oil, but several, like Popeye’s, still haven’t (an order of Popeye’s hash browns contains a whopping 10 grams). As for what’s in the fry-o-lator at your local bar and grill, there’s really no way to know, so it’s best to avoid the fried stuff altogether.

Pie crust

The light, flaky consistency is in pie crusts in many cases due to trans fats.

Click here for more foods that are high in trans-fats.


Search Results

Most Popular Foods This list of foods is ranked by popularity, with 1 being most popular. The foods most frequently viewed are listed first.

Nutrient Search If you search by a single criterion, the food with the most (or least) of that nutrient will be at the top of the list. If you search for foods highest or lowest in multiple nutrients, we determine a composite score by multiplying the rankings for each individual criterion. For example, if you search for foods high in calcium and magnesium, a food ranked #1 for calcium and #10 for magnesium would have a composite score of 10. A food ranked #5 for calcium and #5 for magnesium would have a composite score of 25. The results are ranked according to their composite scores.

Search by Caloric Ratio Caloric Ratio search results are ranked and sorted by proximity to the ratio you selected. Foods with a ratio of Carbohydrates:Fats:Protein closest to the one selected are shown first, with a rank of 1 being the closest match.

Search by Fullness Factor TM and ND Rating (Nutritional Target Map TM ) These search results are ranked and sorted by proximity to the map point that you selected, reflecting foods with a certain ND Rating (nutrient density) and Fullness Factor TM (energy density). Foods closest to the point you selected will appear first, with a rank of 1 being the closest match.

Better Choices for Healthy Weight Loss The Better Choices approach predicts that foods closer to the top of this list are more filling and more nutritious per calorie than foods farther down the list, and therefore are better for healthy-weight-loss diets. This prediction is based on the nutrient content of these foods, but does not take into account your individual needs.

Better Choices for Optimum Health Foods closer to the top of this list have more nutrients per calorie than foods farther down the list and are therefore a better choice for optimum health.

Better Choices for Healthy Weight Gain The Better Choices approach predicts that foods closer to the top of this list will be less filling and/or more nutritious per calorie than foods farther down the list and therefore better for weight-gain diets. This prediction is based on the nutrient content of these foods, but does not take into account your individual needs.

Lowest eGL eGL (Estimated Glycemic Load TM ) estimates how much a food is likely to increase your blood sugar level. Foods closer to the top of this list are likely to cause less of an increase in blood sugar than foods farther down the list.

Highest eGL eGL (Estimated Glycemic Load TM ) estimates how much a food is likely to increase your blood sugar level. Foods closer to the top of this list are likely to cause more of an increase in blood sugar than foods farther down the list.

Lowest IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating TM The IF Rating TM predicts a food's effect on the body's inflammatory response. Foods closer to the top of this list are more likely to provoke inflammation (or less likely to reduce inflammation).

Highest IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating TM The IF Rating TM predicts a food's effect on the body's inflammatory response. Foods closer to the top of this list are more likely to help reduce inflammation (or less likely to provoke inflammation).

Protein Complement Rankings are determined by multiplying the rankings for each individual criterion.

For example, a food ranked #1 for being highest in the first amino acid and #10 for being lowest in the second would have a composite score of 10.

A food ranked #5 for being highest in the first amino acid and #5 for being lowest in the second would have a composite score of 25.

The results are ranked according to these composite scores.


Top Twenty List - Highest trans fat Content per 100g

Below is a basic list for trans fat in vegetables for the top 20 vegetables. A more comprehensive list for the top items can be found at the bottom of the page along with different servings.

1. Potatoes, mashed, home-prepared, whole milk and margarine added 0.675g
2. Spinach souffle 0.229g
3. Potatoes, mashed, home-prepared, whole milk and butter added 0.149g
4. Sweet potato, cooked, candied, home-prepared 0.136g
5. Corn pudding, home prepared 0.096g
6. Corn, sweet, yellow, raw 0.007g
7. Mushrooms, portabella, raw 0.004g
8. Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, raw 0.004g
9. Carrots, raw 0g
10. Cauliflower, raw 0g
11. Mushrooms, morel, raw 0g
12. Mushrooms, portabella, grilled 0g
13. Onions, young green, tops only 0g
14. Squash, summer, crookneck and straightneck, raw 0g
15. Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw 0g
16. Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, grilled 0g
17. Peppers, jalapeno, raw 0g
18. CAMPBELL'S, Tomato juice 0g
19. CAMPBELL'S, Tomato juice, low sodium 0g
20. CAMPBELL'S, V8 Vegetable Juice, Organic V8 0g


Search Results

Most Popular Foods This list of foods is ranked by popularity, with 1 being most popular. The foods most frequently viewed are listed first.

Nutrient Search If you search by a single criterion, the food with the most (or least) of that nutrient will be at the top of the list. If you search for foods highest or lowest in multiple nutrients, we determine a composite score by multiplying the rankings for each individual criterion. For example, if you search for foods high in calcium and magnesium, a food ranked #1 for calcium and #10 for magnesium would have a composite score of 10. A food ranked #5 for calcium and #5 for magnesium would have a composite score of 25. The results are ranked according to their composite scores.

Search by Caloric Ratio Caloric Ratio search results are ranked and sorted by proximity to the ratio you selected. Foods with a ratio of Carbohydrates:Fats:Protein closest to the one selected are shown first, with a rank of 1 being the closest match.

Search by Fullness Factor TM and ND Rating (Nutritional Target Map TM ) These search results are ranked and sorted by proximity to the map point that you selected, reflecting foods with a certain ND Rating (nutrient density) and Fullness Factor TM (energy density). Foods closest to the point you selected will appear first, with a rank of 1 being the closest match.

Better Choices for Healthy Weight Loss The Better Choices approach predicts that foods closer to the top of this list are more filling and more nutritious per calorie than foods farther down the list, and therefore are better for healthy-weight-loss diets. This prediction is based on the nutrient content of these foods, but does not take into account your individual needs.

Better Choices for Optimum Health Foods closer to the top of this list have more nutrients per calorie than foods farther down the list and are therefore a better choice for optimum health.

Better Choices for Healthy Weight Gain The Better Choices approach predicts that foods closer to the top of this list will be less filling and/or more nutritious per calorie than foods farther down the list and therefore better for weight-gain diets. This prediction is based on the nutrient content of these foods, but does not take into account your individual needs.

Lowest eGL eGL (Estimated Glycemic Load TM ) estimates how much a food is likely to increase your blood sugar level. Foods closer to the top of this list are likely to cause less of an increase in blood sugar than foods farther down the list.

Highest eGL eGL (Estimated Glycemic Load TM ) estimates how much a food is likely to increase your blood sugar level. Foods closer to the top of this list are likely to cause more of an increase in blood sugar than foods farther down the list.

Lowest IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating TM The IF Rating TM predicts a food's effect on the body's inflammatory response. Foods closer to the top of this list are more likely to provoke inflammation (or less likely to reduce inflammation).

Highest IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating TM The IF Rating TM predicts a food's effect on the body's inflammatory response. Foods closer to the top of this list are more likely to help reduce inflammation (or less likely to provoke inflammation).

Protein Complement Rankings are determined by multiplying the rankings for each individual criterion.

For example, a food ranked #1 for being highest in the first amino acid and #10 for being lowest in the second would have a composite score of 10.

A food ranked #5 for being highest in the first amino acid and #5 for being lowest in the second would have a composite score of 25.

The results are ranked according to these composite scores.


Eliminating trans fats: What to do, and what to watch out for

Be on the lookout for margarine, shortening, or the words “hydrogenated oils” or “partially hydrogenated oils” when checking ingredient labels. Also, don’t let “trans fat free” claims fool you these items can actually contain up to 0.5 grams of partially hydrogenated oils.

Another tip from Millan and Descallar: Ask for a list of ingredients in any food you’re planning to order from online sellers. You should also incorporate more whole foods (such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, fish, nuts, and lean poultry) into your diet.

It also helps to learn how to prepare your own food—and when you do, avoid reusing oil. “At high temperatures, some of the fats in oil change into trans fat when oils are reused, the amount of trans fats gets even higher.”

Meanwhile, Alcanzare emphasized the importance of consistency and commitment in living a healthier lifestyle. “Having a single go at the gym or eating a bowl of oatmeal is not going to reverse decades of eating fried foods and fast foods on an almost daily basis. A lifestyle change means a radical shift in behavior, which will take months or even years to make a dent in the direction that the body has taken in these lifestyle-related diseases.”

Macalintal suggested a plant-based diet, which has been linked to reduced risk of certain forms of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For online sellers, he advised speaking to a registered dietitian and food technologist to ensure that they’re using healthy, trans fat-free ingredients. “This way, we can educate the public [and help each consumer make] a healthier choice.”


Why do some companies use trans fats?

Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers. Several countries (e.g., Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada) and jurisdictions (California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD) have reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.


At first glance, Boston Market's Rotisserie Prime Rib seems like a safe bet, clocking in at 630 calories and packing in 55 grams of protein. However, this cut of meat is way too large for a single serving—and way too fatty. Prime rib has naturally-occurring trans fats, so you'll want to decrease your intake by going for half the portion or less, or choosing a leaner cut of meat like chicken or turkey breast.


Saturated fat

This type of fat can increase your cholesterol, and as a result, your risk of heart disease. This is one of the fats that should be limited in our diet. Typically, this fat is found in animal products and tropical oils that are solid at room temperature.

Animal products containing saturated fat include:

  • Lard
  • Fatback and salt pork
  • High-fat meats like regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon and spareribs
  • High-fat dairy products such as full-fat cheese, cream, ice cream, whole milk, 2% milk and sour cream.
  • Butter
  • Cream sauces
  • Gravy made with meat drippings
  • Poultry skin (example: chicken, turkey etc.)

Oils containing saturated fat include:

Saturated fat grams are listed on the Nutrition Facts label under “total fat”. The goal is to get less than 10% of one’s calories from saturated fat. For example, someone eating a 2,000 calorie diet should aim for 20 grams or less of saturated fat. To figure out the right target for you, talk to your dietitian.


10 Foods That Are Surprisingly High in Trans Fats

Trans fat is the artificial fatty acids found in processed foods, i.e. your arch nemesis. Eating foods that are made with trans fat can cause heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. That’s why the FDA has announced that trans fats are going to be completely eliminated from the American food supply by 2018. This is a huge step for us, but until this change is fully complete, look out for these foods that still have hidden trans fat in them.

1. Ice Cream

That’s right, your favorite dessert can still contain trans fats. Häagen-Dazs ice cream is a known offender and still sells ice cream with small amounts of trans fat (0.5-1 grams). This one might be particularly hard to part with, as their ice cream is basically heaven in a pint. Try making your own healthy banana ice cream instead.

2. Store-Bought Pie Crust

Photo by Michael Habisohn

Marie Callendar’s still dishes out pie crusts that contain 1.5-4 grams of trans fat per serving. Make a gluten-free and dairy-free pie crust instead if you’re watching your fat intake.

3. Popcorn

Yes, sadly your favorite microwavable popcorns may still contain trans fats. Pop Secret butter-flavored popcorn contains 5 grams of trans fat per serving. Don’t worry though, you can easily make your own microwave popcorn.

4. Biscuits

Those delightful, buttery little biscuits you get from the convenience store may make a delicious breakfast, but they’re still full of trans fat and sodium (1.5 grams of trans fat per biscuit, ouch). Start out your morning with mini breakfast bagels instead.

5. Cereal

Photo by Courtney Hatfield

Your favorite cereals like Fruity Pebbles and Froot Loops still contain trans fats, unfortunately. Make sure you read the ingredients—if foods contain less than 2% of hydrogenated vegetable oil, they are allowed to list 0 grams of trans fat in the nutrition facts. If you can’t stop eating cereal until 2018, make this protein-packed cookie crisp cereal to curb your cravings.

6. Crackers

Crackers like Ritz and Saltines still contain small amounts of trans fat (1-2 grams). Never fear, you can snack on hummus and chips or veggies in the meantime.

7. Frosting

That creamy and sugary spread that tops all of your homemade cupcakes and birthday cakes is secretly full of harmful fats. One serving of even the sugar-free Pillsbury chocolate fudge icing has 2 grams of trans fat. Next time you’re baking, channel your inner Betty Crocker and make these lemon cupcakes with homemade blackberry frosting.

8. Bisquick

Yep, this magical box of powder is actually really unhealthy for you, with 2.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Make some dark chocolate chip bran pancakes from scratch instead.

9. Frozen Pizza

Your go-to lazy night dinner is really full of trans fat—a DiGiorno cheese pizza has over 3 grams of fat per serving. So you should vow to learn how to make a good, basic pizza for your every craving. Try to make this easy broccoli flatbread when you’re first starting out.

10. Coffee Creamer

Those sweet little Coffee-mate coffee creamers are pretty deceivingly innocent, but don’t be fooled—they have partially hydrogenated oils listed under the ingredients. Check out some healthier alternatives to put in your coffee.


15 Foods High In Trans Fats

1. Cakes And Pies

Cakes and pie mixes contain a lot of trans fats. Though they may list 0 trans fats, according to the rules and guidelines, the companies are allowed to write 0 g trans fats if they contain 0.5 g trans fats per serving. And as you know, not many of us stick just one serving. Several servings can make you pile on trans fats and lead to arterial blocks in the long run.

2. Biscuits, Cookies, And Crackers

Biscuits, crackers, and cookies all have a flaky texture. And most food companies use trans fats to build the crunchy texture that we love so much. Trans fats increase the shelf life, which allows them to sell the product for a longer time and helps the buyer to store them for months. Make biscuits, cookies, and crackers using healthy oils and less sugar or a substitute of refined sugar, which are healthier than the packaged ones.

3. Margarine, Butter, Tallow, And Lard

Animal fats like tallow and lard and dairy fats like margarine and butter are storehouses of unhealthy trans fats. A pat of butter contains 0.2 grams of trans fats, but we consume a lot more butter than just a pat of it per day. One tablespoon of margarine contains 2.1 grams of trans fats, and tallow and lard are animal fats used to make fries and other fried foods. At high temperatures, tallow and lard become toxic and unhealthy for your heart.

4. Microwave Popcorn

The flavored and crispy popcorn in the movies is a match made in heaven. But make sure you don’t get your ticket to heaven so quick! Popcorn, in general, is a great source of fiber and vitamins, but not the microwaved or movie popcorns. So, it is best to avoid consuming packaged popcorn.

5. Breakfast Sandwiches

If you are in the habit of grabbing a packaged sandwich in the morning, you are probably consuming a whole lot of trans fats in the first meal of your day. The packaged sandwiches contain about 1 gram of trans fats and have other ingredients that contain partially hydrogenated oils. So, avoid consuming packaged breakfast sandwiches. Have a bowl of oatmeal instead.

6. Doughnuts

Many of us loovee doughnuts. But they are loaded with carbs, and the deep frying in oil also makes them overloaded with trans fats. And if you have icing on them, you are probably consuming the worst and dangerous type of doughnuts. Ban doughnuts from your diet completely to improve your heart health and blood lipid profile.

7. Cream-Filled Candies

Cream filled candies are yummy and gooey. And each candy contains about 0.5 grams of trans fats. But the catch is, we don’t stop at just one candy, do we? Consuming too many cream-filled candies can build up a ton of trans fats in your body. Plus, they are loaded with sugar, which will make you gain weight and prevent you from losing it.

8. Fried Foods

Crispy fried foods taste great, and the crunch adds to the whole experience of the food. The labels may say 0 g trans fats, but as mentioned before, the FDA allows the companies to declare 0 g trans fats in one serving if they contain 0.5 g trans fats per serving. We tend to overconsume fried foods because they taste great, and we literally cannot stop ourselves. So, it is best to avoid consuming fried foods at all occasions.

9. Frozen Foods

Frozen foods like frozen pizza and frozen ready-to-eat foods are high in trans fats along with carbs, salt, and sugar. These contain about 1 g trans fats per serving, and just like any other fried foods, we all can go overboard and consume a lot of them without even realizing it. Avoid buying these foods so that you can cut down on your trans fats intake.

10. Peanut Butter (Excluding Natural Peanut Butter)

Peanuts are healthy, but they are also high in calories. Peanuts contain healthy fats – but they can only help if you consume them in limited amounts. Partially hydrogenated palm oil is used in packaged peanut butter to prevent the natural oils found in peanut from rising. And this is where things go downhill for peanut butter lovers. The next time you think of finishing half the jar of peanut butter, think of the number of trans fats you are consuming and what it can do to your heart. Choose natural peanut butter that you have to stir to mix. These do not have trans fats and is definitely part of a healthy diet.

11. Blended Vegetable Oils

Blended vegetable oils are a blend of vegetable oils that are refined, deodorized, and bleached. These vegetable oils are used in cooking, frying, baking, icing, filling, and savory glazes. The more you heat the oil, the more the chances that you will consume trans fats. Avoid deep frying or stir-frying foods in these oils. Also, choose a healthy substitute for these oils to keep the trans fats levels to the minimum.

12. Baked Foods

Baked foods like puffs, patisseries, croissants, and tarts are delicious but loaded with trans fats. The packaged ones, especially. The trans fats make these foods crispy and flaky, which adds to the taste. Try making them at home using healthy sources of fat. They may not turn out “restaurant type” but will definitely be the “healthy type.”

13. Pancakes And Waffles

Great for breakfast, yes, but not so great for your health. Especially if you prepare the pancakes and waffles with a readymade pancake and waffle mix. Prepare the batter at home and use a healthy oil or none at all to make the pancakes.

14. Ice Cream

Ice cream lovers, here’s the bad news. The ice creams that you get from the market are high in sugar and trans fats and can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Make some homemade popsicles or add fruits to frozen yogurt or just make a batch of ice cream at home.

15. Non-Dairy Creamers

Non-dairy creamers do not contain the traditional cream. And to make up for the taste and texture, they contain trans fats, especially the flavored ones, like French vanilla, hazelnut, etc. Use traditional creamers or consume black coffee or green tea to avoid consuming trans fats from these creamers. You may also use almond milk, which is a great non dairy alternative to put in coffee.

There you go – 15 foods high in trans fats that you must avoid. I know, you must be thinking how boring your life would be without these yummy foods. But the dangers they pose are not fictional. Lower your trans fats intake gradually, and you will see a positive difference in your attitude toward food and your body. So, say NO today, say NO now! Take care!

Disclaimer: “The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting a diet, exercise, or supplement regimen. This article is intended for educational purposes only.”