FAIRBANKS, Alaska - When it comes to heart health and packaged foods, dietary labels might be the key to healthy eating habits.
"Trans fat lowers your HDL, which is your good cholesterol, and it raises your LDL, which is your bad cholesterol. So, all in all, trans fat increases your risk of heart disease, " says Anya Guy, dietitian for the Mayo Clinic
Manufactured by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil to make it solid at room temperature, trans fat extends the shelf life of food, such as certain baked goods, chips, refrigerated dough, nondairy creamer, margarine and some fried foods. Dietitian Anya Guy says it's important to read ingredient labels and look for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. When eating out, choose baked or grilled protein options, and instead of those cookies or chips that could be loaded with trans fat.
"Rather than choosing snacks in the packaged aisle, choose carrots and ranch or apples and peanut butter as a snack," says Guy.