New study looks at saturated fats vs. trans fats

For years saturated fats have been considered a health hazard.

Now new research continues to raise questions about whether they really are that bad.

It is the fat that mostly comes from animal sources, butter, meat and eggs. Trans fats are chemically altered plant oils that have a long shelf life.

A new study looked at the risk of saturated fats with the risk of death versus trans fats.

"It actually showed that there was no association between saturated fat intake and those factors," said Kate Patton of the Cleveland Clinic. "But it did show that trans fat did have an impact."

The observational study published in the British Medical Journal, shows that consuming trans fat was associated with a 34 percent increase in death, and a 21 percent increased risk of heart disease alone.

Patton says that's likely because trans fats increase your bad cholesterol and decrease your good cholesterol.

However, researchers did not see the same risk with saturated fats. Patton says it's okay to include some saturated fats in your diet, but keep in mind that it's still unclear how they impact heart health.

"The saturated fat issue is still a grey area," Patton said.  "So you still want to keep it in moderation because we do know that more of the plant based fats actually have a lot more, you know, heart protective benefits."

Patton says trans fats should be avoided and are often found in pre-packaged foods, so it's important to read the nutrition labels. Even labels that say "zero grams" trans fat may still have some - so be sure to look for "partially hydrogenated" oils, a form of trans fat, on the ingredients label.