Always Check Food Labels For This If You're Avoiding Trans Fat

Most of us probably want to live a long, healthy, happy life, and eating a nutritious diet plays a big part in promoting health and longevity. We all know filling your plate with fruits and veggies is a great way to help maintain good health, but unfortunately, making good food choices isn't always as straightforward as it seems. This is because food labels can sometimes be misleading, with unhealthy additives and ingredients hiding behind seemingly innocuous names.

Trans fats, which are one of the most unhealthy fats you can include in your diet, also happen to be one of the worst culprits when it comes to sneaky labeling. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a good idea to avoid trans fats because they have been shown to increase the body's levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), while also lowering levels of good HDL cholesterol, which leads to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes. But avoiding trans fats is often easier said than done. This is because trans fats go by many different names, and it can be difficult to spot them hiding in food labels unless you know exactly what you are looking for.

Hydrogenated oils contain a small amount of trans fats

One of trans fat's most common aliases is hydrogenated oil, a fairly popular ingredient that is in everything from coffee creamer to microwave popcorn, per the Mayo Clinic. Hydrogenated oil, whose main use is to keep food fresher longer, simply refers to any food that is a solid fat at room temperature, per Medical News Today.

It is created when food manufacturers inject hydrogen into any liquid fat, like olive, canola, or vegetable oil. "Even when the nutrition facts list '0 grams of trans fats,' it's always important to read the ingredients," registered dietitian Jenna A. Werner explained to Prevention. "If you see hydrogenated oil, there's a small amount of hidden trans fat." So if you are keeping an eye on your diet, and trying to steer clear of unhealthy additives, you'll definitely want to read food labels closely.

It is best to avoid heavily processed foods, which are often full of unhealthy saturated and trans fats, and instead focus on eating healthy, unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, like the kinds found in walnuts or fish. Eating a diet high in omega-3s has been shown to help boost the body's cognitive function, as well as improve heart health and help protect against cancer, according to Healthline. And of course, for a truly nutritious diet, don't forget to load up on whole grains, fresh fruits, and leafy greens as well.