Trans Fat in Processed Foods

September 18, 2016

On a Nutrition Facts label, you may have seen the amount of Trans-fat listed, but don’t know why this is even there.

The intake of Trans-fat is linked to increases chances that you’ll develop heart disease since it promotes the buildup of harmful plaque in the artery walls which may lead oy a heart attack. The FDA requires that Trans-fat be declared on any food labels so consumers know how much Trans-fat that they are consuming. Many foods that are processed have PHOs or partially hydrogenated oils which is the major source of industrially-produced Trans-fat that we find in our processed foods.

The FDA is taking a step to remove the artificial Trans-fat from our food supply. This should reduce the instances of coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks which occur each year.

Not Recognized as Safe Now

The FDA made a preliminary determination in 2013, that PHOs we no longer GRAS or “generally recognized as safe.” The FDA is finalizing its actions and determining that PHOs can no longer be called GRAS and should not be used in foods.

Scientific evidence was use dot make this determination as well as the advice given by expert panels according to Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Susan Mayne, Ph.D. Studies have indicated that nutrition and diet play a role in preventing serious health problems such as heart disease. The health of Americans is improved by updating the Nutrition Facts label.

Trans-fat dies occur naturally in dairy and meat products so it won’t completely be gone. It’s also found in small amounts in edible oils when it’s created during the manufacturing process. Companies are able to petition the FDA to use certain partially hydrogenated oils in manufacturing.

PHOs and Trans-Fat

The primary source of industry produced Trans-fat is PHOs. These are found in many popular processed foods, frozen foods, and baked goods that Americans eat. Since the 1950s PHOs have been used to increase favor and shelf-life of processed foods.

Many studies over time have shown that Trans-fat is linked to heart disease. The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine in 2012 issued a report that found a direct correlation between increased levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the consumption of Trans-fat. This “bad cholesterol” increases the chances of heart disease.

In January 2006, the FDA began to label Trans-fat on the Nutrition Facts label. Many companies began to eliminate Trans-fat or change their food formulation in response to this. Consumers no know more about Trans-fat and are making better food choices.

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