FDA's Food-Labeling Measures Help Reduce Trans-Fat Blood Levels

By: Justin Chan

Trans-fat food is known for being notoriously unhealthy, but a recent study reveals that the amount of trans fat found in the American blood level has significantly decreased. According to The Washington Post, trans-fat blood levels have dropped since the Food and Drug Administration mandated food labels to detail the amount of trans fat contained in food products.

Between 2000 and 2008, blood levels of trans fat dropped 58 percent, which suggests that there is now a lower risk for heart disease among Americans.

"The 58 percent decline shows substantial progress that should help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults," said Christopher Portier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health. "Findings from the CDC study demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in reducing blood TFAs (trans-fatty acids) and highlight that further reductions in the levels of trans fats must remain an important public health goal."

The study was released after a report revealed that an increase of calorie intake in the form of trans fat by just 2 percent can increase one's risk to heart-related problems by 20 percent. "Our findings provide information about the effectiveness of these interventions," said Hubert W. Vesper, one of the researchers who reported the recent discovery. "This reduction is substantial progress that should lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people."

The reduction in trans-fat blood levels may also be credited, in part, to restaurants as well.  New York, for instance, instituted a ban on trans fat in December 2006. The ban targeted artificial trans fat used in cooking. By November 2008, 98 percent of all restaurants were reportedly avoiding the use of trans fat. California has since followed suit, imposing its own ban on trans fat in restaurant food in 2010 and one on trans fat in baked goods in 2011.

While the study is optimistic about the reduction of the levels of trans fat among Americans, its sample size consisted of only white adults. Dr. Portier said that the center will conduct similar research on adult ethnic groups, children and adolescents.

Photo: Keith McDuffee

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