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Study Says Natural Trans Fat Not So BadStudy Says Natural Trans Fat Not So Bad

September 9, 2011

2 Min Read
Study Says Natural Trans Fat Not So Bad

EDMONTONNatural trans fats produced by ruminant from dairy and beef cattle may not be as unhealthy as previously thought and actually may help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to a new scientific review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. The researchers suggest changing nutrition labels in North America to help consumers understand the health implications of natural ruminant trans fats.

Ruminant trans fat is naturally-occurring, found in meat and dairy foods. Industrial produced trans fat is a component of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that have been associated with cholesterol and coronary heart disease. According to the review, the naturally occurring trans fat has a different fatty acid profile than industrial trans fat, which contributes to its different physiological effects. The amount of natural trans fat consumed also has been relatively stable and much lower than the amounts consumed from partially hydrogenated oils that have been associated with adverse effects.

"The body of evidence clearly points to a change needed in how nutrition labels are handled," said Dr. Spencer Proctor, one of the review authors and director of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the University of Alberta. "Right now, in Canada and U.S. a substantial portion of natural trans fats content is included in the nutrition label trans fats calculation, which is misleading for the consumer. We need a reset in our approach to reflect what the new science is telling us."

The authors noted a change in how trans fat information is presented on nutrition labels would be a huge step forward. In some European countries, for example, natural trans fat is not included in the nutrition label calculation. Another approach may be to have separate listings for industrial trans fats and natural trans fats.

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