"Cholesterol-Free" and "Trans-Fat-Free" Oils

A newspaper article about a ban on trans fat in restaurants tells of a restaurateur planning to switch to a soybean oil that he was told will be “cholesterol free” and “trans fat free.” 


All soybean oils (and all real vegetable-derived oils, for that matter) are naturally cholesterol-free; only animal fats can contain cholesterol, so restaurants should not be impressed by claims of “cholesterol-free” vegetable oils. As for trans fat, that also is absent from all true cooking oils, unless the oil has been partially hydrogenated, in which case it is no longer an “oil,” because it is now, by definition, partially solid (whether like shortening/margarine or a thick, creamy semi-liquid). When partially hydrogenated fat is heated, it changes to a liquid state, but is still not really an “oil,” because the test is whether it is liquid at room temperature. Note that the term “trans fat free” is not allowed in food labeling in the U.S. “No trans fat,” and “0 grams trans fat” are acceptable.

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