Trans fatty acids surely should be avoided as much as possible, according to the latest published research. They increase levels of “bad” cholesterol in our bodies. But do all types of trans fatty acids have the same effects on our health? A new study* brings in interesting findings to the question.
Most people ignore where trans fatty acids (TFA) originate from. They are present in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO) and they can be found in ruminant sources, such as meat and dairy fat. While a lot of research has been conducted on the health effects of TFA present in PHVO, studies are quite scarce when it comes to ruminant fatty acids – the ones which naturally occur in the rumen of cows. In November 2015, the results of a study on the effects of ruminant TFA vs. industrial TFA were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition*.
This largest individual study on the topic so far demonstrates that the two types of TFA, ruminant and non-ruminant, have similar detrimental effects on the risk of cardiovascular disease. The results confirm the conclusion from an earlier review that, on a gram for gram basis, all dietary TFAs have the same effects on lipid and lipoproteins (Brouwer et al, 2013).
As explained by Professor Stender from the Copenhagen University, it is thus irrelevant to distinguish between “bad” and “good” trans fatty acids. Most ruminant TFA can be as bad for cholesterol as non-ruminant TFA. Yet only the latter can be easily removed from our food!
This high-quality study supports IMACE’s position that industrial (from PHVO) and ruminant trans fats (dairy, beef) have similar adverse effects on the blood lipid risk profile for coronary heart disease.
* Vaccenic acid and trans fatty acid isomers from partially hydrogenated oil both adversely affect LDL cholesterol: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial (here)
Sarah K Gebauer, Frédéric Destaillats, Fabiola Dionisi, Ronald M Krauss, and David J Baer, American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 2015