Trans Fats

Zero trans fat is not the same as no trans fat

Federal regulations allow food labels to say there are zero grams of trans fat as long as there’s less than a half-gram per serving, according to this AP story.

“The problem is that often people eat a lot more than one serving,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard School of Public Health.

The American Heart Association recommends that people limit trans fats to 1% of total calories each day. That’s a little less than 2 grams for the average person. So, you don’t have to be a mathematical wizard to realize that it’s possible to exceed that value by eating several portions at one meal or during the course of a day.

Julie Moss of the FDA’s Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements, explains that the half-gram threshold for labeling was adopted because it is difficult to measure trans fat at low levels. In fact, the same half-gram limit is used for listing saturated fat.

8/20/07 18:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.