Does Butter Have Trans Fat?

Question: Does butter have trans fat?

Answer: Trans fat comes in two forms: natural and artificial. Natural trans fat can be found in animal products like meat and dairy (butter). Artificial trans fat is added to foods as a cheap method to add flavor. If you see the ingredient “partially hydrogenated oils” as an ingredient, this means the product contains trans fat. Partially hydrogenated oils are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to create a stable product (long shelf life) that is solid at room temperature.

Trans fat that comes from partially hydrogenated oil is bad for the body because it raises the bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering the good cholesterol (HDL). This can lead to heart disease or other cardiovascular problems. Artificial trans fats are being phased out of foods because of potential health risks. However, this is not the case for natural trans fat like what is found in butter. Studies have found that moderate consumption of natural trans fat may not be harmful and may actually be beneficial to our health.

According to the USDA, a serving of butter (one tablespoon) contains 0.47 grams of natural trans fat. Note that when you review the nutrition facts on the packaging of butter it may reflect zero grams trans fat. The FDA allows food manufacturers to indicate zero grams of trans fat if the product has 0.5 grams or less of trans fat.

 

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