WHEN "ZERO" DOESN'T REALLY MEAN ZERO
Everyone agrees that trans fat is not good for you. Made by an industrial process that forcibly adds hydrogen molecules to liquid vegetable oils, trans fats are solid at room temperature and don’t spoil as quickly as natural fats like olive oil or butter. These processed, altered fats have been widely used in everything from pre-packaged baked goods to deep-fried foods.
The problem with trans fats is that they interfere with the human body on a cellular level. They’ve been proven to raise bad cholesterol as well as lower good cholesterol, leading to coronary heart disease. There is a strong body of evidence that further links trans fats to cancer, diabetes, liver dysfunction, infertility in women, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Current law says that any food containing less than .5 grams of trans fat can “round down” and indicate trans fat content as 0 grams. In essence, zero doesn’t always have to actually mean zero, and an item that is advertised “trans-fat free” might just be almost trans-fat free.
The easiest way to avoid the “zero trans fat” labeling scam is to read the ingredient list and avoid anything that contains partially hydrogenated oils. Of course, another easy rule of thumb is to stick to whole, fresh foods that have no label at all!