What Are Trans Fatty Acids & What Foods Can I Find It In?

Trans fatty acids (TFAs) are unsaturated fatty acids.

Trans fatty acids occur naturally in animal fat, but are also produced industrially through the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils.

There appears to be no benefit from consuming trans fat.

Instead, studies have consistently shown that artificial trans fatty acids can have serious side-effects.

Table of Contents

Two Types Of Trans Fatty Acids

There are two types of trans fats found in foods: naturally occurring and artificial trans fats. source

Naturally occurring trans fatty acids

Naturally occurring trans fatty acids are found in meat and dairy products as a result of anaerobic bacterial fermentation in ruminant animals. source

Artificial trans fatty acids

Artificial trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. source

Industrially produced trans fats are much more common than natural trans fats.

How Do Trans Fats Get Into My Body?

When you eat a food or beverage with a high level of trans fats, they are almost immediately absorbed into your body and go directly into your bloodstream.

They are then carried to your organs, where they are stored.

Are All Trans Fatty Acids Bad?

There have not been sufficient studies to determine whether naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured. source

Studies have shown consistently that industrially manufactured TFAs increase cardiovascular risk and adversely affect blood lipids with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. source , source

Trans Fatty Acids Through Hydrogenation Of Vegetable Oils

Trans fatty acids are the result of hydrogenation of vegetable oils, which is a process in which hydrogen is added to unsaturated fatty acids to change their structure and make them more solid.

Trans fatty acids are produced when hydrogen is added to unsaturated fats. These fats are a mixture of fatty acids, which can be saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TFAs are classified as carcinogenic.

But still, they are used in processed foods and most commercially available margarines and shortenings.

Foods You Can Find total trans Fatty Acids In

You find trans fatty acids mostly in fats and oil products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Fatty Acids, total trans we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Fatty Acids, total trans.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.