The American Heart Association warns that trans fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowers your good (HDL) levels. If you’re conscious about your heart health, you know to avoid trans fats at all costs. But are you unknowingly eating too much trans fats?

Trans fats are naturally produced in the digestive systems of some animals. So when you eat certain meats, like beef or pork, you’re probably consuming trans fats. That can be considered the “good” kind of trans fat, though you must limit your portions of these as well.

The trans fat you want to avoid is the one that’s artificially produced. These occur in processed foods, like potato chips, cookies and candy bars. You may think that looking on the nutrition label will help you determine whether or not the food is safe to eat. But just because you see “0 trans fat” doesn’t mean that’s true.

The Truth About “0 Trans Fat” on Food Packaging

If you see a food that says it contains no trans fat, you need to check the ingredients. If you see “partially hydrogenated oils,” the food contains trans fat.

Why do companies mislead you by putting this on their labels? Because the FDA allows it. If a food has less than 2 grams of trans fat, it’s allowed to be labeled as zero. If you eat just one serving of the product, you’re probably eating a negligible amount of trans fat. Anything more than that, and you’re more than likely taking in too much.

Why are companies allowed to use trans fat? It’s very inexpensive to produce, and it’s argued that it helps food taste good. If something is deep fried, it’s probably cooked in an oil that uses trans fats. So while it tastes good, the reality is it’s very bad for you. Continued consumption can lead to heart disease, obesity and other major health problems.

For the sake of your heart health, it is recommended that you severely cut back on any food that contains partially hydrogenated oils. Does this mean that you can never have food made with trans fats again? Absolutely not. A treat is fine every now and then. Just be careful what you consume and how much you consume.