Medical Definition of Trans fatty acid

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Trans fatty acid: An unhealthy substance that is made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fatty acids are found in vegetable shortening and in some margarine, crackers, cookies, and snack foods. Trans fatty acids are also found in abundance in many deep-fried foods. Trans fatty acids both raise the 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol and lower the 'good' (HDL) cholesterol levels in blood, markedly increasing the risk of heart disease. Also known as trans fat.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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