How to really avoid trans fats

Trans fats have been restricted, eliminated and in some places even banned -- but odds are, most people are eating plenty of them anyway.

A new report from the CDC finds that 1 in 10 of all processed foods still contain trans fats. And thanks to an FDA loophole, they don't even have to list it on the label.

It's a deadly lie, because even small amounts of trans fats can increase your levels of bad cholesterol, lower your levels of good cholesterol and set the stage for serious heart problems.

But they get away with it, because food makers have bullied the government (as usual) to allow them to round the levels of trans fats in foods down to zero when they contain less than 0.6 grams per serving.

And that's how something oozing these dangerous fats becomes "ZERO TRANS FAT!" on the label.

Since most people don't eat a single serving of anything (and serving sizes used for label facts are often unrealistically small), it's possible to exceed the recommended limit of 2 grams of trans fats per day with a single trip to the office snack machine.

So today, I'm going to do what the government won't. I'm going to tell you how to really make sure you avoid this stuff no matter what the label says.

Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to a vegetable oil to make sure it remains solid at room temperature. Any "partially hydrogenated oils" or "PHO" on the label has gone through this process – and that means when you see those words, you should pass on whatever's in that package no matter what the label claims.

The most common culprits are snacks -- chips, cookies, cakes and pastries -- as well as fried foods (especially French fries), coffee creamers, buttery spreads and frozen meals.

Of course, you need a magnifying glass to read the ingredients panel these days. So there is one other highly effective way to eliminate trans fats and improve your diet: avoid packaged foods completely.

Even if they're truly trans-fat free, odds are they're not good for you anyway.