Ten Foods That Still Have Trans Fats

From popcorn to pancake mix
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

All artificial trans fats must be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years, the Food and Drug Administration ruled on Tuesday. Multiple studies have found that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fats, contribute to heart disease—which is responsible for one in four deaths in the U.S, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the FDA began making companies list trans-fat content on their product labels, in 2006, many have removed the artery cloggers. 

These brands, among others, haven't.

Crisco oil

The bright blue tub contains a cocktail of both fully and partially hydrogenated palm and soybean oils. Time to rethink your grandmother's cookie recipe. 

Pillsbury pie crust

The widely available take-and-bake crust is made almost entirely of enriched bleached flour and partially hydrogenated lard (in addition to color preservatives BHA and BHT). The thickening substance is key to creating a consistently flaky, golden crust. 

Popeyes fried chicken

The Louisiana-inspired fried chicken chain relies on partially hydrogenated oils to make its chicken breasts and onion rings good and crispy. The product with the most trans fat is the chicken liver sandwich, coming in at 4.5 grams of trans fat per serving. 

Betty Crocker frosting and cake mix

Let them eat … partially hydrogenated soy bean and cottonseed oils. These oils give the ready-to-spread frosting its uniform shine and gooey spreadability while preventing separation. As for the cake, the processed oils added in the mix reduce the number of ingredients that customers need to make the finished product, and keep it from getting stale. 

Land O'Lakes margarine

Some margarine brands have removed trans fats from the label, but Land O'Lakes has held fast to its recipe of partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil. 

Little Debbie baked goods

From the brand’s cream-filled oatmeal cookie sandwiches to those square zebra cakes covered in striped white frosting, Little Debbie still relies on partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils as preservatives for its individually packed sweets. 

Hostess Donettes

Those tiny donuts you cram into your face on road trips? They stay soft and chewy for a long time, thanks to the hydrogenated cottonseed oil mixed into the batter. But it doesn’t end with the Donette—several other Hostess sweets also contain these oils, including the classic cream-filled chocolate cupcake. 

Hungry Man frozen dinners

With the long list of artificial and highly processed ingredients that make up the Hungry Man line of frozen meals, it should surprise no one that several of the sauces and breadings used to make the TV dinner trays contain partially hydrogenated oils. 

Bisquick pancake mix

The do-it-all pancake mix that morphs into waffles, biscuits, or dumplings when mixed with milk and eggs contains partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil. Without it, the mix would go stale and your pancakes would likely taste dry and have a watery texture. 

Popsecret microwave popcorn

Popsecret has a line of 100-calorie popcorn packs free of trans fats, but its original Homestyle recipe uses partially hydrogenated soybean oil to keep the kernels crispy. 

(An earlier version of this article included Mission, which discontinued the use of trans fats in its tortillas in 2005.)

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