Trans fat linked to increase in cholesterol

Washington, DC The government's direct assault on obesity and cardiovascular disease has at least one target in its sights: "trans fat," better known as the by-products hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, partially-hydrogenated oils, and vegetable shortening.

Trans Fat Food Content Must Be Labeled In 2006

Trans fatty acids (or "trans fat") are found in some margarines, crackers, candies, baked goods, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, salad dressings, and many processed foods. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a regulation requiring manufacturers to list trans fatty acids, or trans fat, on the Nutrition Facts panel of foods and some dietary supplements. Food manufacturers have until Jan. 1, 2006 to list trans fat on nutrition labels. The FDA estimates that by three years after that date, trans fat labeling will have prevented from 600 to 1,200 cases of coronary heart disease and 250 to 500 deaths each year.

Outside the US, some European countries and Australia have already taken steps to reduce trans fat content in the food supply, as the literature has suggested for some time that trans fat is linked to an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL-C) and a reduction in good cholesterol (HDL-C).

What Are Trans Fats?

Trans fats are produced through hydrogenation, a chemical process by which hydrogen is added to unsaturated fatty acids. Hydrogenation gets rid of double bonds. In doing so, the molecular configuration of the fat molecule can change from the natural "cis" to the "trans" configuration.

A New Study

A team of physiologists have speculated that trans fat supplementation in a swine model would raise the total to high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio TC/HDL-C, a major factor in the progression of cardiovascular disease. The authors of the study, "Trans Fat Increases Total/HDL Cholesterol Ratio in a Porcine Model of Cardiovascular Disease," are Ky

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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