Trans Fat Explained


It is not new information to many that “Trans fat” is associated with increased risk of coronary artery diseases. However, recent FDA announcement in Thailand to ban trans fat has put the said fat back into the spotlight. Join in as we explain what trans fat is, where they are found, and how to avoid it.

Show Notes:

1.08 min     Regulations on trans fat.
2.05 min     Sources of trans fat.
3.20 min     The process of hydrogenating oils.
4.10 min     Saturated vs Unsaturated fat.
8.01 min     Examples of products with trans fat.
10.50 min   Ways to avoid trans fat.
14.00 min   How about trans fat in lean meat.

Background of Trans Fat

Since the beginning of the 20th century, it was believed that replacing saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids can lead to decreased risk for heart diseases. Therefore, chemists have found a way to use hydrogen gas to harden vegetable oils into fats.

This process however, increased the production of trans fat which leads to more consumption.

Saturated vs Unsaturated Fat

Saturated fatty acids are fat molecules that is saturated with hydrogen; evenly distributed throughout the fatty acid chain, making the molecule more linear. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fatty acids are fat molecules at contains at least 1 double bond linking the carbons meaning the the hydrogen will be on one side of the carbon (cis configuration) creating bends. Unsaturated fats will be liquid at room temperature.

Trans configuration is when hydrogen atoms are on opposite sides. By adding hydrogen (hydrogenating), the process is saturating the carbon chain with hydrogen, making the liquid form more solid.


The initial intention of this process was to replace the use of butter and later on, manufacturers continue to use vegetable fat (solid form of vegetable oil) to extend shelf life, save money, add texture (cookies, pie crusts), and increase stability.

Extensive research has been done to strongly suggest that trans fat increases LDL-cholesterol concentrations in the blood while it does not increase HDL-cholesterol.–> increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Examples of trans fat products include margarine, vegetable shortening, packaged snacks. baked foods, especially premade versions, fried foods, and coffee creamers.


The Public Health Ministry announced a ban on import and sale of partially hydrogenated oils as well as food containing them into Thailand; effective in 180 days or from January 9 onwards.

Ways to reduce consumption of Trans Fat:

– Opt for lean meats like fish and poultry or lean pork.
– Adopt a diet that has more fruits and vegetables and whole grains
– Steer clear of processed food or deep fried foods
– Read the ingredients list on the packaged foods for “trans fat” or source of trans fat.

Listen in as we discuss more on Trans fat!


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