The Use of Artificial Trans Fat

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There is currently a controversy surrounding the labeling and use of artificial trans fatty acids in the United States food supply. The root of this debate lies in the health risks associated with these types of fats. Consumption of trans fats has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol levels and decrease HDL cholesterol levels, putting consumers at risk for developing heart disease and other chronic conditions [1]. Recommendations to limit trans fat intake have been published by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Federal Government. However, in order to avoid these diseases, the public must be aware of the primary sources of trans fat. While trans fat occurs naturally in some ingredients including meat and dairy products, it is often a byproduct of increasing product shelf life in many processed foods including baked goods, microwave popcorn, and frozen pizza and is revealed in the ingredient list as “partially hydrogenated oils” [2]. Therefore, our ever-expanding supply of processed foods means an increase in the consumption of trans fat.
In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended regulations related to the labeling of trans fatty acids. This rule became effective in 2006 and required that the amount of trans fat in a food product be displayed in the nutrition label. This rule was in response to a petition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. While this demonstrates a major step in informing the public about their consumption of this particular type of fat, there are some limitations to this rule [3].
Trans fat must be labeled as grams per serving to the nearest 0.5 gram, however, if a single serving contains less than 0.5 grams, the trans fat content must be labele...

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...ll have to wait to see the solutions that food companies arrive at to understand the true implications of this policy.

Works Cited

1. Derbyshire E. Trans fats: Implications for health. Nursing Standard. 2012;27(3):51-56.1.
2. Trans fats. Updated 2013. Accessed 2/5, 2014.
3. Guidace for industry: Trans fatty acids in nutrition labeling, nutrient content claims, health claims, small entity compliane guide. Updated 2003. Accessed 2/5, 2014.
4. Nelson J, Zeratsky K. Serving sizes: Who decides what a serving is? Updated 2010. Accessed 2/5, 2014.
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