Many food labels list various “fats” on their label. One can look at the label and not really understand what all these “fats” really are.

Saturated fat: A fat that is solid at room temperature and comes chiefly from animal food products. Some examples are butter, lard, meat fat, palm oil, and coconut oil.

Unsaturated fat: A fat that is liquid at room temperature and comes from a plant such as olive, peanut, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, or soybean.

Hydrogenation: The process used to give vegetable oils a semi-solid or solid texture in order to improve the shelf life and flavor stability of the vegetable oils. The process creates trans fats, which are similar to saturated fat.

Trans fatty acid: An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fat, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils and also by destroying good fat by super heating it. Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods.

Many manufacturers started including trans fats in their processed foods about 20 years ago to prolong their products' shelf life, but public health experts warn that these kinds of fats clog arteries and cause obesity.

Using the information above, you can look at the labels on your food and have a better understanding of what you are eating.