Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Should we ban trans fats?

Q. I've heard that the FDA wants to ban trans fats from foods. Do you think it will happen, and will that be good for us?

A. In November 2013, the FDA proposed removing trans fats from its list of ingredients "generally regarded as safe." If this ruling is made final, companies will have to prove that trans fats are safe if they want to continue to put them in their products. Most of the experts here that I've talked to think the ruling will be made final. If so, artificial trans fats will be eliminated from our food supply.

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat. Most of the trans fats in our foods were created by food manufacturers, because they don't spoil as readily as other fats and they respond better to repeated heating. By the late 1990s, many commercial cookies and crackers contained trans fats. Restaurant frying oils also were rich in trans fats.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »