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Thursday, 27 May 2010 23:57

Harmful trans fats not replaced with other unhealthy fats


A U.S. study has found that food manufacturers are, for the most part, not voluntarily replacing harmful trans fats with other dangerously unhealthy fats. Instead, they are generally doing the right thing and making their products healthier. However, you still have to watch out for some of them!


According to a U.S. study published in the May 27, 2010 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, supermarket and restaurant products are not being reformulated by food manufacturers with other dangerously unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat, after being asked to remove harmful trans fats from their products.

According to the May 26, 2010 WebMD article Trans Fat and Saturated Fat Reduced From Most Supermarket and Restaurant Products, Study Finds, 'Fears that supermarkets and restaurants were substituting trans fat in their products with other high-fat ingredients can be put aside, researchers say.'

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, along with Dr. Michael F. Jacobson and Julie S. Greenstein, both of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, took part in the study.

They examined 83 brand-name packaged and restaurant foods that had been produced with trans fat before 2007, but later reformulated to take out the trans fat.

The WebMD article states:


'¢    'Trans fat content was reduced to less than 0.5 grams per serving in 95% of the supermarket products and in 80% of the restaurant foods analyzed;'

'¢    'After reformulation, 90% of the restaurant foods and 65% of the supermarket products contained levels of saturated fat that were lower, unchanged, or only slightly higher (less than 0.5 grams per serving) after reformulation.'

'¢    'Overall content of both trans fats and saturated fats was reduced in 96% of restaurant foods and 90% of supermarket products, with average total reductions of 3.9 and 1.2 grams, respectively.'

Page two continues.


Even though many foods have improved since these food manufacturers were asked to voluntarily remove trans fats from their foods, trans fats still appear in many foods.

And, even though trans fats may have been eliminated from some foods, these same non-trans-fat-containing foods have been sometimes reformulated to include more saturated fat, another dangerous fat for your health.

For instance, the WebMD article states, 'But watch out for Entenmann's frosted doughnut, which used to have 5 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat. Now it is now trans fat-free but contains 12 grams of saturated fat, the researchers report.'

Please read the WebMD article 'Trans Fat and Saturated Fat Reduced From Most Supermarket and Restaurant Products, Study Finds,' which was mentioned earlier, for additional information.

The study was performed, as the WebMD states, because: 'Food manufacturers had agreed to reduce the trans fat content in their products to make them healthier, but skeptics questioned whether one fatty ingredient would be substituted for another, such as increased amounts of hydrogenated oils, which help promote the shelf life of many foods.'

Dr. Mozaffarian states in the WebMD article, 'This study should alleviate concerns that most food manufacturers and restaurants would simply switch to a shortening high in saturated fat when they reformulated their products without trans fat.'

And, 'In only a small handful of baked goods, more saturated fat was added than trans fat subtracted following reformulation. Still, because a gram of trans fat is more harmful than a gram of saturated fat, even those changes represented relative improvements.'

'In the majority of products, trans fat was reduced or eliminated without corresponding increases in saturated fat.  In the case of reformulated restaurant foods, not only was trans fat largely eliminated, but saturated fat also was reduced -- making for a much healthier food.'

Page three concludes.



The New England Journal of Medicine article by these researchers is entitled 'Food Reformulations to Reduce Trans Fatty Acids."

The researchers stated in the paper: 'Reductions in levels of trans fat nearly always exceeded any increase in levels of saturated fat; after reformulation, the overall content of both fats combined was reduced in 90% (52 of 58) of the supermarket products and 96% (24 of 25) of the restaurant products, with average total reductions of 1.2 g [gram] and 3.9 g per serving, respectively.'

And, 'Our results indicate that there is room for improvement in some reformulation strategies, especially for some supermarket foods. Our findings do not support concerns that voluntary or mandatory reductions in trans fat from partially hydrogenated oils would lead to broad increases in the saturated fat content of U.S. foods.'



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