September 20, 2012

Trans fatty acid putting millions of Europeans at risk

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I've always assumed Europeans ate healthier than Americans. I don't know why. Apparently, their diet is still full of "persistently high trans fatty acid content of certain fast and convenience foods", just like Americans. Science Daily reports:

While the overall TFA fat content of foods has fallen, few European countries have imposed any legal limits, meaning that it is perfectly possible to buy certain packaged and restaurant foods which still contain very high levels, say the authors.

Trans fatty acids (TFA) are primarily produced by the industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, a process that solidifies them and helps to prolong the shelf life of the baked goods in which they are used...

Clearer food labelling is one way of curbing trans fatty acid intake, but most countries still rely on food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the TFA content of their products, the authors point out.

Only a few countries -- Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland -- have gone down the legislative route and forced industry to limit the amount of TFA used in foods to 2% of the total fat.

But foods containing trans fats, which can comprise up to 60% of the total fat content, can still legally be sold as shop bought packaged goods, or unpackaged in restaurants and fast food outlets elsewhere in Europe, the authors emphasise.


In the US, trans fat labeling became mandatory in 2006. New York city has banned it in restaurants. High consumption of trans fat leads to heart disease.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at September 20, 2012 1:48 AM

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