Glossary for Restaurant Operations

Updated:Jan 28,2013

0 grams trans fat

Contains less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving.   For fry oils, baking shortenings, margarines, and doughnut fry oils, 1 serving = 1 tablespoon.

Baking margarine A lower-moisture margarine formulated for use in baking.


Describes pourable shortenings that are opaque and thicker than clear fry oil.


Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among fats circulating in your bloodstream and in all of your body’s cells.  You can get cholesterol in two ways.  Your body makes some cholesterol and the rest comes from animal products you eat such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and whole and 2% milk.  Cholesterol is not found in foods from plants.


Anti-foaming agent commonly added to fry oils, to make them more suitable for heavy-duty use.

Expeller pressed

Method of extracting oil from seeds without using chemical solvents.

Fully hydrogenated oils/fats

Fully hydrogenated oil/fat is formed when liquid vegetable oil is fully saturated with hydrogen in an industrial process by which liquid vegetable oil is turned into more solid fat.  In this case, almost no trans fats are formed.  Full hydrogenation increases the amount of saturated fats, mostly in the form of stearic acid.  Stearic acid does not raise levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.  This makes fully hydrogenated fats less harmful than partially hydrogenated fats.

Heavy-duty oils

Oils and shortenings that are suitable for deep frying and grilling.

High-oleic, mid-oleic, low- linolenic

Newer oils with a fatty acid blend that is very stable and exceptionally well suited for heavy-duty frying.  These oils are derived from plant sources that have been specially bred for this purpose.  High oleic oils are also referred to as “omega 9.”

HydrogenatedRefers to an oil or semi-solid fat that has been put through a chemical process in which hydrogen is added to make it solid and more stable.  Fats labeled "hydrogenated" have been fully hydrogenated (as opposed to "partially hydrogenated").  They do not contain significant amounts of trans fat, but are high in saturated fat.


Chemical or enzymatic rearrangement of fatty acid chains in edible oils, to alter their texture and/or nutritional profile.  The safety profile of interesterified oils and shortenings is not as well understood as that of natural fats and oils.

Light- to medium-duty oils

Oils that are suitable for pan frying and using in marinades and salad dressings.
Monoglycerides, diglyceridesTypes of fat used as emulsifiers in some baking shortening and margarines, and other processed foods.
Monounsaturated FatsFrom a chemical standpoint, monounsaturated fats are simply fats that have one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule.  Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.  Examples of foods high in monounsaturated fats: vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil.  Other sources: avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

Partially hydrogenated

Partially hydrogenated oils are created in an industrial process by which liquid vegetable oils are turned into more solid fat with the addition of hydrogen.  Partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats.

Refers to “portion cups” or “individual piece.”  In the case of margarine, it means the product is available packaged into single servings.

Polyunsaturated Fats

From a chemical standpoint, polyunsaturated fats are simply fats that have more than one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule.  Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and when chilled.  Foods high in polyunsaturated fat include a number of vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.  Other sources include some nuts and seeds.


Refined (see below), bleached and deodorized.  Refers to processing of oils to make them less perishable and more suitable for heavy-duty use.


Describes oils that have some or all of their impurities filtered out, to make them less perishable and more suitable for heavy-duty use.
Saturated Fats

Saturated fats have a chemical makeup in which the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms.  Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature and occur naturally in many foods.  The majority come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products.  Many baked goods and fried foods and some plant foods, such as palm oil, can contain high levels of saturated fats.

Solid fat

Shortening that is solid at room temperature.


Margarine that is suitable as a spread for some cooking applications.
Table gradeTerm used to describe a margarine that is suitable for use as a spread and for many baking applications,
Trans FatsTrans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Trans fats can be found in many foods – but especially in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and baked goods including pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings.  You can determine the amount of trans fats in a particular packaged food by looking at the Nutritin Facts Panel.  You can also spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients described as “partially hydrogenated oils.”


Tertiary butylhydroquinone, an antioxidant commonly added to fry oils to retard spoilage and make them better suited for heavy-duty use.

Check out Fats 101 and the comprehensive Consumer FAQ if you have questions about different fats and where they can be found.

Fats and Oils

Frequently Asked Questions about Fats

Check out some of the top questions on fats, listed here by category: