Trans Fats Linger In Food

When Zero Doesn’t Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food
August 28, 2014

back in November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration announced it was intending to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products. The proposed ban seemed prudent, since eating foods with trans fats has been linked to heart disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an FDA ban could prevent an additional 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and as many as 20,000 heart attacks in that period.

But the FDA has yet to issue a final rule requiring food companies to eliminate trans fats entirely.

While many food companies have found affordable alternatives to partially hydrogenated oil, 1 in 10 packaged foods still contain it, according to researchers at the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“A lot people think it’s out of the food supply, but it’s still in a lot of places,”

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils: not safe for use in food

Crisco was the original product made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fats.

FDA Moves To Phase Out Remaining Trans Fats In Food Supply
November 07, 2013

Margaret Hamburg, the FDA commissioner, said at a press conference that her agency has come to the preliminary conclusion that the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils “are not generally recognized as safe for use in food.”

Kantha Shelke, a scientist with the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, says this makes liquid oil more solid, and stable.

These results include cookies or doughnuts that didn’t leave a ring of oil behind on a paper towel and don’t start tasting rancid after a few weeks.

Also, this oil doesn’t have a strong taste of its own so you can use lots of it without ruining the flavor.

“It’s really absolutely perfect, and it’s also perfect for the American style of shopping: You buy boxes and boxes of crackers, put them in your pantry,” says Shelke. “You open this box six months or eight months or a year later, and it would still taste and smell just as good as it was on the day you bought it!”


Trans Fatty Acids Are Implicated in Various Disorders
Small amounts of trans-unsaturated fatty acids are found in ruminant fat (eg, butter fat has 2–7%), where they arise from the action of micro-organisms in the rumen, but the main source in the human diet is from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (eg, margarine).
Trans fatty acids compete with essential fatty acids and may exacerbate essential fatty acid deficiency.
Moreover, they are structurally similar to saturated fatty acids (Chapter 15) and have comparable effects in the promotion of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis (Chapter 26).

Botham KM, Mayes PA. Chapter 23. Biosynthesis of Fatty Acids & Eicosanoids. In: Murray RK, Bender DA, Botham KM, Kennelly PJ, Rodwell VW, Weil P. eds. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry, 29e. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012.