The campaign to limit the amount of trans fats people consumer appears to have made a dent. A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that levels of trans-fatty acids in the blood of white American adults has dropped by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009.
The findings, published Feb. 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are the first since a 2006 requirement by theU.S. Food and Drug Administration that manufacturers list trans fats on food packaging nutrition panels.
Some local and state governments have since limited their use in restaurant foods and launched educational efforts.
Trans fats are not necessary to human health and can be harmful, as research show they increase LDL, or bad, cholesterol and risk for cardiovascular disease.
It’s made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, or hydrogenation, and was once common because it makes the oil less like to spoil. Trans fats were often found in margarine and baked and fried foods.
“The 58 percent decline shows substantial progress that should help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults,” said Christopher Portier, director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, in a statement. “Findings from the CDC study demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in reducing blood [trans fats] and highlight that further reductions in the levels of trans fats must remain an important public health goal.”
The CDC plans to look at the amount of trans fats in the blood of minorities and children next. It’s part of a larger program to track environmental chemicals and nutritional indicators.
For more information on the CDC study, go to http://jama.ama-assn.org/.
For more information on the biomonitoring program, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/dls/nbp.html.