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Does ZERO on the label always mean no trans fats?

Many products that advertise zero grams of trans fat on their labels still have partially hydrogenated oils in their ingredient lists, which means that they DO contain trans fats despite their label claims.

US labeling laws allow a manufacturer to claim ZERO if there is less than one-half gram (.5g) of partially hydrogenated oil per serving. That doesn't sound like much, but if a serving size is one teaspoon or one cracker, it can add up to a lot of trans fats in a tub of margarine, a bowl of cereal or a bag of chips. I think the claims are deceptive, but the manufacturers are not breaking the law. Use the list of ingredients as your source of information, not the nutrition panel or the "Zero Trans Fat" claims. If the words "partially hydrogenated" appear in the list of ingredients, look for another brand.

Many manufacturers are developing new formulations of their popular brands that contain NO partially hydrogenated oils. Seek these products out and vote with your pocketbook.

Checked 4/11/13

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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