Effect of trans fatty acids intake on blood lipid profile

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Transfatty acids (TFA) may be described as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids holding non-coupled carbon-carbon double bonds in the trans form, disrupted by at least one methylene group(1).

These trans fatty acids are formed by a process called hydrogenation to produce fats that have the firmness and plasticity desired by food manufacturers and consumers(2).

Trans fats are gaining popularity in industrial sector owing to its low cost, potential to increase shelf life of products and contribute suitable features to the food(3).

The major dietary sources of transfatty acids are vegetable oil condensation, solid margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked foods, and other processed foods. It is also present naturally at relatively low levels in meat and dairy products about (1to8%) as a result of the fermentation process in the animal’s rumens(4).

Partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils is a common technological aid to food processing with few or no undesirable effects although it can alter the composition of fatty acids. Types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in dietary fats have been shown to profoundly influence lipid metabolism and physiological function. In particular, linoleic acid (18:2, n-6, LA) and α-linolenic acid (18:3, n-3) are metabolized to highly unsaturated fatty acids which have distinct physiological functions (5).

The effect of trans fatty acids on the serum lipoprotein profile is at least as unfavorable as that of cholesterol-raising saturated fatty acids, because trans fatty acids not only raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels but also lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Later studies, involving either partially hydrogenated fat as the source of trans fatty acids or specifically synthesized fat differing in only a single fatty acid, further demonstrate the blood cholesterol raising effects of trans fatty acids (6).

Tran’s fat produced from the natural and industrial sources have different effect on human health. Industrially produced trans-fats are more dangerous and perilous than those of naturally present in food. Tran’s fat behaves like saturated fats and is a leading cause of cardiovascular complications, cancer,diabetes, obesity, proinflammatory response and endothelial dysfunction(7).
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