Harvard Heart Letter

Shining a light on stealth fats

No more hunting for evidence of trans fats in your food. Now you can find it right on the label.

Behold the food label, the simple listing of ingredients printed on packages of prepared food. Who knew that the addition of a single line, for trans fats, could be sparking a huge and healthy makeover of the American diet?

Until recently, trans fats could be found in nearly half of all items on grocery store shelves. They're also in French fries, doughnuts, and other restaurant fried foods. But only savvy shoppers who knew the code phrases for trans fats — "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" and "vegetable shortening" — could tell what products contained these artery-clogging fats.

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