About transfat

Transfat are fats containing trans fatty acids

How is Transfat Produced?

Transfat seldom occurs in natural fats but are produced when liquid oils are modified to reduce the melting point so it becomes solid or semi-solid at room temperature, a manufacturing process known as hydrogenation. Butter, a natural fat from milk, contains no transfat whereas margarine, manufactured from liquid oils via hydrogenation is high in transfat. Similarly, cocoa fat, a natural solid fat from cocoa seed, has no transfat whereas vegetable oil based shortening manufactured from hydrogenation of palm kernel oil is high in transfat.

Why is transfat used in foods?

Because transfat is a solid at body temperatures, foods containing transfat taste thicker, smoother and creamier. They are extensively used in manufacturing of ice creams, non-dairy beverage creamers, biscuits and cakes.  They are used as substitute for natural solid fats like Butter and Cocoa which are very expensive.

How does transfat affect health?

It is generally accepted as result of scientific studies that transfat leads to clogged arteries and is a contributing factor in several diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer

What is the regulatory status of transfat?

In 2018, WHO launched a plan to eliminate trannsfat from global food supply. They estimate that transfat lead to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease yearly.

Many countries including Denmark and Switzerland have banned transfat in foods. Singapore has banned foods containing more than 2% transfat by June 2021.

Transfat is dangerous regardless of the level in the food because it accumulates in the arteries leading to cardiovascular disease over time.

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