Trans fat

In foods trans fats usually divided into two broad types: artificial trans fats and naturally-occurring trans fats.

  • Trans fats naturally-occurring are present in food made from animals which produced from the gut of the animals (e.g., meat and milk products). It contains little quantity of trans fats.
  • Artificial trans fats produced from the industry, a process to make liquid vegetable oil more solid by adding hydrogen.

Partially hydrogenated oils present in the food containing trans fats as the primary dietary source. Hence one should look at the food packages and check the ingredients used.

Trans fats in food

The natural type of trans fats present in body fat of ruminants and milk (e.g., sheep and cattle) contains trans-fat in 2-5% of total weight.

Previously, only animal-based trans fats consumed by humans. Further, artificially processed foods from the industry showed a huge amount of trans fats. Found due to the vegetable oils partially hydrogenated. Notable food industries such as fried, baked, fast and snack foods have replaced liquid oils and solid natural fats with partially hydrogenated fats.

Reasons for using Partially hydrogenated oils:

  1. Shelf life increases.
  2. Refrigeration requirements decrease.
  3. They can maintain the right consistency so that it can replace natural animal fats such as lard and butter at a lower cost.
  4. Inexpensive compared to other semi-solid oils e.g., Palm oil.

Risks related to Health

Many health-related problems in life developed due to increased intake of foods containing trans-fatty acids. Found in abundant quantity especially fast foods.

People who often consume fast food lack in a proper diet. This leads to high health risks such as heart disease, blood pressure and obesity. Trans fats also contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Breast cancer

Trans fatty acids causing breast cancer proven by an investigation. Breast cancer can be noted by adipose tissue concentration. But not attributable to body mass index, age difference or socio-economic status.

A test performed on women’s blood serum for trans fatty acids. It showed that an increase in the number of trans fatty acids directly impacts causing breast cancer. The chances of developing breast cancer in women having increased serum levels are higher than having low serum levels.

  • Cardiovascular (CVS) diseases

People consuming saturated fatty acids in their diet shows high levels of cholesterol in their body. Also high chances of causing heart disease.

Results obtained from the various studies usually accepted that increase LDL leads to the development of heart disease. Trans fats decrease HDL and increase LDL results. The concept clears that high levels of LDL results in a high risk of causing heart disease.

  1. LDL: Low-density lipoproteins
  2. HDL: High-density lipoproteins
  • Obesity

Research has found that trans fats cause fat deposits in the abdomen. Also, increase in weight gain even with similar calorie intake. The calorie content in both naturally occurring trans fats and industrially produced trans fats are same as other fats.

Trans-fat related to obesity

Studies found that trans-fat causes obesity because of insulin resistance in men.

  • Pregnancy

For baby’s growth and development, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential. But the formation is inhibited because of the high intake of trans fats produced from industries. For the baby’s growth and development of the central nervous system and vision, LCPUFAs plays an important role in the fetus.

Pregnancy time and trans-fat

Intake of trans fatty acids by the mother also found in the blood of the new-born babies. Women suffering from hypertension found to have 30% higher trans-fat levels in red blood cells.

  • Diabetes

The relation between diabetes and trans-fat is clear. Results from a study data in over 80,000 women found that 40% higher risk of developing diabetes caused due to the intake of trans fats.

Research proves that glucose activities and insulin affected by consumption of large quantity trans-fat. Also proved that it causes increased belly fat and insulin resistance. All these noted as increased blood sugar.

  • Other health risks

It include colon cancer, allergy behaviour aggressive and irritability, acne problems, interference with essential fatty acids, etc.


Trans fats were very helpful in maintaining the characteristics structures of the processed foods. later it was suspected that trans fats are associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases, childhood allergies and infant and foetal growth and neurodevelopment. Animal products like diary and meat contains essential components for the body such as iron, calcium, and proteins. Hence, complete banning of trans fats is also impossible. Four main strategies can be maintained, should take the advice from healthcare provider to know how to minimize the intake of trans-fat. Consumers should know to identify and avoid food products containing trans-fat. Food manufacturers and restaurants must use alternative fats in preparation and production of food and national, state and local government agencies should support these efforts by imposing legislation that can restrict the use of trans- fat. Following these steps will help in reducing the consumption of trans-fats and substantially improves health.

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