Trans Fatty Acids Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Trans Fatty Acids?
Trans fatty acids, also known as trans fats, are a type of unsaturated fat that is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil in order to solidify it. This process, called hydrogenation, creates an unnatural form of fat that can be found in many processed and convenience foods. Trans fats have become increasingly prevalent in the food industry due to their low cost and extended shelf life. Despite these benefits, trans fatty acids are linked to serious health risks such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Trans fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while reducing good cholesterol (HDL). They also increase inflammation and decrease insulin sensitivity. The World Health Organization recommends limiting trans-fatty acid intake to less than 1% of total daily calories which equates to about 2 grams per day for most people. In response to research linking trans fats with adverse health effects, governments around the world have taken action to reduce their prevalence in the food supply. In 2018 the United States Food & Drug Administration banned partially hydrogenated oils from food products due to their high content of trans-fats. Many other countries have implemented similar measures or are in the process of doing so. Additionally, manufacturers have begun reformulating products by replacing partially hydrogenated oils with healthier alternatives such as mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated oils that lack trans-fats altogether. The impact of these changes has been significant; dietary consumption rates for trans fatty acids dropped by 78% between 2003 and 2012 according to a study done by Harvard University’s School of Public Health Nutrition Department. Despite this progress there is still more work that needs done; it is estimated that globally up 20 million deaths could be prevented if all individuals reduced their consumption of artificial trans fats below 1% daily energy intake levels recommended by WHO guidelines. With regulations now firmly in place it looks like this goal may soon become a reality.