Yay! Trans-Fat Down 58% in a Decade

Full vs Partial HydrogenationThe CDC released a study showing that the level of trans-fatty acids in the blood of white adults has decreased 58% between the years 2000 and 2009. The CDC’s National Biomonitoring Program measures the presence of 450 different chemicals in human blood. Trans-Fat is just one of them.

This is a good! Trans-fats are the worst type of fats for human health, are totally unnecessary and can lead to heart disease.

This news also demonstrates that Public Health Measures Work! Trans-fatty acids are a type of artificial fat that is produced when oils are partially hydrogenated. Partially hydrogenated oil has been very popular as a means to create snacks and foods that don’t ooze oils at room temperature. But in 2006, companies were required by the FDA to start labeling their trans-fat content. As a result, many eliminated or drastically reduced their use of partially hydrogenated oils.

“The 58 percent decline shows substantial progress that should help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults,” said Christopher Portier, Ph.D., director of CDC′s National Center for Environmental Health. “Findings from the CDC study demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in reducing blood TFAs and highlight that further reductions in the levels of trans fats must remain an important public health goal.”

Before we all get excited, there is still work to be done. Not only is trans-fat still prevalent in many foods, a silly FDA loophole allows products with a small amount to label it as zero.

What to do at the supermarket:

Any product that contains “partially hydrogenated” oils contains trans-fats. Steer clear.

(h/t to Marler Clark’s Food Safety News)

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  • Brian

    This is good news! I’m looking forward to the day when we are completely rid of trans-fats! The FDA needs to do the right thing and change the labeling law so that consumers know when there is any trans fat in a product. I think we have the right to know, especially since it has been so heavily linked to disease.

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  • Sishorrock

    I notice on the graphic it says Saturated Fatty Acids are bad for you too. Can you tell me why anybody?

  • Tom Arr

    When the food industry has to stop using some ingredient for whatever reason, they tend to replace it with an unknown ingredient that has unknown health issues. So my question is, what have they replaced trans-fats with?

  • Guest

    Hold your applause. Has incidence of cardiovascular disease also been reduced by a corresponding 58%? That would be the public health result we seek, would it not? Without a significant impact upon heart disease the news of changed transfat values is an empty nanny state success…and a public health failure. It would cast serious doubt upon the hypothesized cause-effect relationship between transfats and heart disease. I’m not celebrating until I see how the disease is impacted.

    • Gerome

      Since CAD takes years to affect heath, how about instead you take a look at heart disease before and after the introduction of TFAs?

      You know, when people call the science into doubt on the dangers of transfats, I cannot help but conjure up old memories of tobacco executives challenging claims that ciggies were unhealthy.

    • iamyou

      Heart disease deaths have fallen. 

      Of course, there are multiple factors involved in the rates of heart disease.  Smoking has gone down, obesity has gone way up. 

      It’s non-trivial to tease the trends apart.  Even if there were it’s a bit silly to expect a 58% drop in blood levels to equal a 58% drop in disease or cry “empty nanny state success”

  • http://www.integrativehealthreview.com/ Dr. Holly

    Great News!  Thanks for posting this info!

  • Canadian Guest

    Just FYI:

    In Canada, the trans-fat label loophole is set at 0.049g rather than 0.49g; many products with partially-hydrogenated oil are labelled as having 0.1g or 0.2g of trans-fat per serving, which is far more honest.

    Link: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/inform/transe.shtml

    The zero-calorie loophole demonstrated by PAM spray doesn’t exist in Canada either (it’s labeled as having 4 calories per 0.5 sec spray). Calories from insoluble fiber are also included in calorie counts, giving the impression that products such as Fiber One cereal are far less caloric in America when they are in fact the same.