Skip to main content
CNN.com CNN.com -- Health
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

How bad for me are partially hydrogenated oils?

Asked by Kevin Poffenberger, Bozeman, Montana

Open quote
Close quote

I am trying to eliminate trans fats out of my diet completely, but it is pretty tough with all the products that contain partially hydrogenated oils. If partially hydrogenated oils are not in the label, then the producers mask it with mono- or diglycerides. I am wondering what an acceptable level of consumption is, and the overall effect, and also would like to know if fully hydrogenated oils are bad for you.

Expert Bio Picture

Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert Answer

Hi, Kevin. I think it is a terrific idea to attempt to reduce or eliminate trans fats from your diet as much as possible. Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils, are one of the real villains of nutrition. They start out as healthier polyunsaturated fats, but through chemical processing known as hydrogenation, they turn into solid, unhealthy trans fats.

Trans fats not only raise LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) like saturated fat, they also lower HDL (good cholesterol), thereby doubling your risk of heart disease. They also increase another heart disease marker called Lp(a) and can increase blood clotting and inflammation, which can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

While there is no consensus as to safe levels, the American Heart Association suggests limiting your intake of trans fats to less than 1 percent of your total calories for optimal health. If you are eating 2,000 calories per day, this represents less than 2 grams of trans fats per day.

It is important to pay attention to the ingredient list and serving size of foods because a company can legally call a product "trans fat free" if it has less than 0.5 grams per serving. So if the serving size is one small cookie, and each serving contains 0.47 grams of trans fat, if you eat four cookies, you will quickly surpass your maximum suggested daily intake. I recommend looking at the ingredient list, and if you see the word hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated near the top of the ingredient list, look for an alternative product or brand, or make sure to limit yourself to one serving at a time.

Fully hydrogenated fats do not contain trans fats but can be high in saturated fat, so they are safer but not necessarily healthy, and the word "fully" must be clearly stated in the ingredients list. Otherwise, assume that the product contains some trans fats.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
Will jogging hurt an obese person's joints?asked by: Asked by John Simmet; St. Paul, Minnesota
Is creatine a safe supplement?asked by: Asked by Ralph; New York
What foods cause flatulence?asked by: Asked by Peter; United States
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.