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Food Product Design

August 24, 2015

Coast Packing CEO Eric Gustafson Responds to Post in Food Product Design.

In Formulating Foods: Trans Fat Worsens Memory

I commend Alissa Marrapodi (“Trans Fat Worsens Memory,” blog post, June 29) for her reporting on a new study linking trans fats with memory deficits in young adults. As that study noted:

Dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs), which are primarily from industrial production [emphasis added], have been linked to adverse effects on lipid profiles, metabolic function, insulin resistance, inflammation, and cardiac and general health… Each of these in turn has adverse associations with, and potential for adverse consequences to, cognitive function (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470692/)

It would have been even better had the article called out the real culprit in the trans fat story — “industrially produced partially hydrogenated fat (IP-TFA),” as opposed to “ruminant fat in dairy and meat products (RP-TFA),” per another significant study:

Fatty acids of trans configuration in our food come from two different sources – industrially produced partially hydrogenated fat (IP-TFA) used in frying oils, margarines, spreads, and in bakery products, and ruminant fat in dairy and meat products (RP-TFA). The first source may contain up to 60% of the fatty acids in trans form compared to the content in ruminant fat which generally does not exceed 6%… The high amount of IP-TFA in popular foods, the evidence of a more harmful effect on health by IP-TFA than by RP-TFA, and the feasibility of eliminating IP-TFA from foods without side effects for the population, suggest that a selective elimination of IP-TFA from our food is a ‘low hanging fruit’ in the quest for a more healthy diet for subgroups of the population (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596737/).

The fact is, not all trans fats are the same. We as an industry need to keep the focus on eliminating manufactured trans fats — in the form of partially hydrogenated oils — from the American diet, just as the FDA has mandated.