By: Daniel Trecroci
Do you want your food purchases to be trans fat free in 2004? If so, you’d better get your passport ready and head to Denmark.
While new U.S. regulations mandate only that trans fat content of commercial foods be labeled starting in 2006, the Danes have gone a giant step further.
They have decreed that foods containing trans fats will no longer be sold in Denmark.
The Danish government decided that oils and fats containing more than 2 percent of industrially produced trans fatty acids would not be sold in Denmark after January 1, 2004.
“The contribution of dietary trans fatty acids on the risk of ischemic heart disease has recently gained further support due to the results from large prospective population-based studies,” writes the Danish Nutrition Council. “Compared to saturated fat, trans fatty acids are, gram to gram, associated with a considerably higher risk increment for ischemic heart disease.”
It is well known that trans fat intake not only increases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels but also reduces levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
The Danish Nutrition Council adds that trans fatty acids may also have a negative effect on the human fetus and on newborns, as well as an increase in colon cancer risk in adults.
“Recent findings justify further studies concerning the effect of trans fatty acids on allergic diseases in children and on the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults,” write the researchers.
Trans fatty acids are found in many processed food items such as french fries, microwaveable popcorn, chocolate bars, bakery products, some margarines and fast foods.
-Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, December 16, 2003