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Food industry continues to make trans-fat reduction progress: Survey

By Stephen Daniells , 11-Oct-2012

Efforts to reduce the trans-fat content of processed food are working to reduce national consumption levels, but some sections are still consuming high levels of the fats, says new survey data.

Data published in Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A indicated that intakes of industrially-produced trans fatty acids in the US population between 2003 and 2006 averaged 1.3 g per person per day.

“Based on this estimate, the mean dietary intake of industrially-produced trans fatty acids has decreased significantly from that cited in the 2003 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) final rule that established labeling requirements for trans fat (4.6 grams per person per day for adults),” wrote researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Progress

‘Benchmarking’ data published in this month’s edition of Lipids (Vol. 47, pp. 931-940) using 1999-2002 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded that some sections of the population had “very large” consumption of trans fats in their diets.

Penny Kris-Etherton from The Pennsylvania State University and her co-workers found that between 1999 and 2002, the mean trans fat intake was about 6.1 grams per day.

Success

The decrease is the data from 1999-2002 to 2003-2006  has continues in recent years. Some data indicates that trans fat consumption has decreased by 58% in the United States over the past decade, as some cities and regions have instigated bans, and the federal government has required labeling of the fat.

Indeed, 2011 saw a drop off in low-trans-fat claims, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database.

Trans fats have been attractive for the food industry due to their extended shelf life and flavor stability, and have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.

However, scientific evidence mounted to show they raise levels of LDL (so-called ‘bad’) cholesterol, while lowering levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol, thereby clogging arteries and causing heart disease.

Sources: Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A
Volume 29, Issue 6, 2012
“Updated estimate of trans fat intake by the US population”
Authors: D. Doell, D. Folmer, H. Lee, M. Honigfort & S. Carberry

Lipids
October 2012, Volume 47, Number 10, Pages 931-940, doi:  10.1007/s11745-012-3704-z
“Trans Fatty Acid Intakes and Food Sources in the U.S. Population: NHANES 1999–2002”
Authors: P.M. Kris-Etherton, M. Lefevre, R.P. Mensink, et al. 

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