Ask the doctor: Does "no trans fat" really mean no trans fat?

Ask the doctor

Does "no trans fat" really mean no trans fat?

Published: October, 2006

Q. I've been using Take Control in place of butter or margarine because it contains cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. The food label says it contains zero grams of trans fat, even though one of the ingredients is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Doesn't this mean it contains some trans fat?

A. You get an A+ for savvy label reading. No matter what the label says, a food that contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil contains some trans fat. How much depends on what kind of oil was used and how much it was hydrogenated. But as long as the food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the FDA says it can proclaim "no trans fat" on the front and list zero trans fat on the label. (In Canada, the cutoff is 0.2 grams per serving.)

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