Are trans fats good for you? – Natural trans fats in milk

Have you heard of Natural Trans Fats in Milk? Before we tell you about this let us first discuss trans fats.

Trans fats are partially hydrogenated meaning that they have one or more double bonds in the trans configuration. These trans fats impart solidity to margarine and plasticity to shortenings. Scientific studies have proved the harmful effects of trans fats on the human body. Trans fats are responsible for many diseases, the most important of which is cardiovascular disease.

How do trans fats increase the chances of heart disease?

Trans fats raise the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) – the so-called “bad” cholesterol – and lower the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. High levels of LDL lead to cholesterol deposition in the arteries, especially the coronary arteries, thereby initiating the pathogenic process of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes narrowing of the blood vessels thereby increasing the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Natural trans fats in milk
Natural trans fats in milk

Limits of trans fats in the diet

A standard diet (providing ~2,000 calories), should contain no more than 2 grams (providing ~20 calories) of trans fat per day. This is equal to about 2 potato chips or half a biscuit. With consumption of a low-calorie diet, the levels of trans fats must be reduced proportionately.

Table 1: Contribution of various foods to trans fats intake in the diet

Food groupsContribution (% of total trans fats consumed)
Cakes, cookies, crackers, bread40
Animal products21
Fried potatoes8
Margarine7
Potato chips, corn chips, popcorn5
Breakfast cereals, candy5
Household shortening4

Which foods should you avoid for preventing heart disease?

  • Fried foods
  • Fast foods
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Dessert Mixes
  • Frozen foods
  • Doughnutsjj
  • Stick margarine

How can you reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease?

  • Fried fast food and processed foods, which contain vegetable shortening must be avoided.
  • Opt for oils like extra virgin olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil, and foods containing natural fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, soy, and fish.

Naturally occurring trans fats

Naturally occurring trans fats are found in fats from ruminants like cows, sheep, and goats. Unsaturated fats present in plants are consumed by these animals, which undergo a process known as biohydrogenation that is catalyzed by enzymes of bacteria present in the rumen of these animals.

Natural trans fats in milk

Milk is a universal health drink that is nutritious for adults and infants alike. It is the main source of nutrition for infants before they can digest other types of food. One-hundred grams of milk contains 1.98 g of fat of which 0.085 g is trans fats. Since the percentage of natural trans fats in milk is negligible and therefore not harmful at all as compared to that produced artificially by industrial processes, milk can be consumed without any health concerns.

FSSAI regulations on trans fats

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (and subsequently 2011) regarding compliance of notification [F.No. 1(94) 2015/Notification P&L/Enf/FSSAI dated 25 May 2016] has stipulated that the class title, trans fat content and saturated fat content must be displayed on the packaging label of food products. This is an important step in the right direction. This will go a long way toward identifying and establishing the safety and standards of unhealthy and potentially harmful components such as trans fats in food items.

Arbro Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. has state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure as well as highly trained technical personnel to carry out testing procedures with utmost accuracy. If you would like to use our testing services, please feel free to contact us through the contact form or call us now on +91-11-45754575. We will be happy to provide you with a proposal for your testing the trans fats content in processed and packaged foods.

References

  1. Dhaka V, Gulia N, Ahlawat KS, Khatkar BS. Trans fats – sources, health risks, and alternative approach – a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2011 Oct; 48(5): 534-41. doi:  1007/s13197-010-0225-8
  2. American Heart Association. Trans fat. Available at: https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/trans-fat
  3. Holmqvist O. Trans fatty acids in hardened vegetable oils. (Letter to the Editors). Atherosclerosis 1996; 120 (1-2): 245-7. [Comment on Dietary trans fatty acids increase serum cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity in man. (Atherosclerosis. 1995)]. PMID: 8645366.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Agricultural Research Service. USDA Food Composition Databases. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=01174
  5. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. F.No. 3305-02/REG/FSSAI/2017. Available at: https://fssai.gov.in/home/fss-legislation/Advisories—Orders.html and therein.
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