Opinion Article - Journal of Food Technology and Preservation (2023) Volume 7, Issue 5
Understanding Trans fats: Sources, health effects, and regulations.James Street*
Department of Human Nutrition, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- James Street
Department of Human Nutrition
Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA
Received: 24-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. AAFTP-23-112971; Editor assigned: 26-Aug-2023, PreQC No. AAFTP-23-112971 (PQ); Reviewed: 02-Sep-2023, QC No. AAFTP-23-112971; Revised: 14-Sep-2023, Manuscript No. AAFTP-23-112971 (R); Published: 19-Sep-2023, DOI:10.35841/2591-796X-7.5.194
Citation: Street J. Understanding Trans fats: Sources, health effects, and regulations. J Food Technol Pres. 2023;7(5):194
Trans fats have been a topic of growing concern in the field of nutrition and public health. Often associated with detrimental health effects, these fats have been the focus of extensive research, regulatory actions, and public awareness campaigns. They are structurally different from their counterpart, cisfatty acids, due to a distinct arrangement of carbon atoms in their chemical structure. This difference in structure leads to distinct health effects that have garnered significant attention from health professionals and policymakers. Trans fats can be categorized into two primary forms- Naturally occurring trans fats: these occur naturally in small quantities in the fat of certain animal products, such as meat and dairy. They are typically not considered harmful in the same way as artificial trans fats .
Artificial trans fats (or industrially produced trans fats): these are the trans fats of concern, as they are formed during the hydrogenation process of vegetable oils. Hydrogenation is a chemical process used to convert liquid oils into semi-solid or solid fats, often for use in processed foods. Sources of trans fats- Trans fats have historically been widely used in the food industry for their unique properties. Some common sources of trans fats include: Partially hydrogenated oils: these oils, produced through the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, are a major source of artificial trans fats. They have been used in a variety of processed foods, including baked goods, fried foods, and snacks. Fast food and restaurant chains: many restaurants and fast-food chains have used partially hydrogenated oils for frying, contributing to the trans-fat content in their menu items .
Packaged snacks: many packaged snacks, such as microwave popcorn, crackers, and some types of potato chips, contain partially hydrogenated oils. Baked goods: commercially produced baked goods like cakes, pies, pastries, and biscuits often contain trans fats, particularly in the form of shortening. Health effects of trans fats -Consuming trans fats can have adverse effects on health, particularly when consumed in excessive amounts. Here is some key health effects associated with trans-fat consumption: Cardiovascular health: trans fats have been strongly linked to an increased risk of heart disease. They raise levels of ldl (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, while lowering hdl (highdensity lipoprotein) cholesterol, known as "good" cholesterol. This unfavorable lipid profile contributes to a higher risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks .
Inflammation: trans fats are associated with increased levels of inflammatory markers in the body, which can contribute to chronic inflammation, a known risk factor for various chronic diseases. Insulin resistance: high intake of trans fats has been linked to insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Obesity: while the relationship is complex, some studies suggest that trans fats may contribute to weight gain and obesity. Cognitive health: emerging research suggests that trans fats may have a negative impact on cognitive health, potentially increasing the risk of cognitive decline and alzheimer's disease. Regulations and awareness- In response to the mounting evidence of the health risks associated with trans fats, many countries and regions have taken regulatory actions to limit their presence in the food supply: Transfat labeling: many countries require food manufacturers to label the trans-fat content on nutrition labels, allowing consumers to make informed choices. Trans fat bans: several regions, including new york city, denmark, and california, have implemented bans on the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and foodservice establishments. Reduction in trans fats: many food manufacturers have voluntarily reduced or eliminated trans fats from their products, often replacing them with healthier alternatives .
Global initiatives: the world health organization (who) has launched initiatives to eliminate artificial trans fats from the global food supply by 2023, recognizing their detrimental impact on health. Making informed choices- To reduce your intake of trans fats and make informed dietary choices, consider the following tips- Read nutrition labels: check food labels for the trans-fat content. Be cautious if you see "partially hydrogenated oil" listed in the ingredients, as this indicates the presence of trans fats. Choose whole foods: opt for whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which are naturally low in trans fats. Limit fast food and processed snacks: reduce your consumption of fast food and processed snacks, which often contain Tran’s fats .
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