Health-conscious consumers are aware of the dangers of ingesting tran fats. In 2006, the FDA mandated that all food manufacturers list the amount of trans fats on the Nutrition Facts label. Due to increased awareness, many companies have tried to eliminate the use of trans fats in their products over the last few years. However, many popular products, like frosting, microwave popcorn, pizza, and margarine, still contain trans fats.
Trans fats are a type of fat that is created artificially in order to increase the shelf life of foods while also enhacing the flavor and texture of the products. Unfortunately, trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by increasing LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and decreasing HDL levels (good cholesterol) in the blood. The FDA claims that trans fats are responsible for 20,000 heart attacks per year and 7000 deaths from heart disease.
As a result, last week the FDA proposed that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) no longer be “generally recognized as safe,” which would eliminate them from the food supply. This would drastically reduce the consumption of trans fats and decrease health risks. Consumers still need to watch their intake of saturated fat but this is a good first step.