Blood levels of trans–fatty acids (TFAs) in white adults in the U.S. population decreased by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009 according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in the Feb. 8 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This is the first time CDC researchers have been able to measure trans fats in human blood.
Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential to human health and do not promote good health. Research has indicated that high consumption of trans–fatty acids is linked to cardiovascular disease in part because TFAs increase LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).
Changing to a diet low in TFAs may lower LDL cholesterol levels, thus decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease.
CDC researchers selected participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) years 2000 and 2009 to examine trans–fatty acid blood levels before and after the Food and Drug Administration′s 2003 regulation, which took effect in 2006, requiring manufacturers of food and some dietary supplements to list the amount of TFAs on the Nutrition Facts panel of the product label.
During this period, some local and state health departments took steps to help consumers reduce their daily consumption by requiring restaurants to limit their use of TFAs in food and increase public awareness campaigns about the health risks associated with TFAs.
“The 58 percent decline shows substantial progress that should help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults,” said Christopher Portier, Ph.D., director of CDC′s National Center for Environmental Health. “Findings from the CDC study demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in reducing blood TFAs and highlight that further reductions in the levels of trans fats must remain an important public health goal.”
The current study provides information for white adults only, and additional CDC studies are under way to examine blood TFAs in other adult race/ethnic groups, children, and adolescents, Dr. Portier added.