Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) - Articles and news items

Functional lipids in beverage products

Issue 3 2016  •  30 June 2016  •  Guillermo E. Napolitano, PhD, Expert Scientist, Nestlé Development Center

The last decade has witnessed an extraordinary surge in the development of beverage products containing healthier oils and nutritionally active lipid ingredients. There has been a significant shift from the use of relatively unhealthy, but chemically stable, fats rich in saturated and trans fatty acids (TFA), to healthy and chemically unstable oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids. As a consequence, research resources also shifted from the more conventional aspects of the physico-chemical properties of bulk fats to more complex problems of lipids oxidation in bulk, disperse phases and oil in water emulsions…

Novel Techniques and New Advances in the Analyses of Fat species in Foods

Webinars  •  19 November 2015  •  

In this webinar, we discuss new methods of fatty acid methyl esters analyses and their use in resolving various cis and trans isomers and degrees of saturation…

US to eliminate trans fat from the food supply

Industry news  •  16 June 2015  •  Victoria White

Food manufacturers will have 3 years to remove partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fat in processed foods, from products sold in the US…

Trans fats in foods and the commercial challenges

Issue 4 2013  •  28 August 2013  •  M. S. Alam Head of Fats and Oils Program, Food Protein R&D Center, Texas A&M University

Fats and oils are major sources of energy, providing nine kilocalories per gram compared to carbohydrates and proteins which provide only four kilocalories per gram and 3.8 kcal/g of energy, respectively. The two major sources of edible fats and oils are plants and animals. Plant sources or vegetable oils are found in abundance in seeds and fruits such as soybeans, cottonseeds, canola, sunflower, corn, peanuts, palm, palm kernels and coconut oil. The major animal fats include lards from pigs, tallow from cattle and sheep, milk fat from cows and fish oil.

The major component of most oils and fatty foods are triglycerides (95 – 98 per cent) represented as TAG whereas the fatty acids such as stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1), linoleic (C18:2), linolenic (C18:3), C16:0 (palm oil) and C12:0 (coconut oil) are the major building blocks of TAG. For example, in Figure 1, the TAG molecule is composed of a glycerol molecule. Attached to it are three different fatty acids, C16:0, C18:1 and C18:3. The terms mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) and poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) are used for fats containing one or more than one double bond. MUFA’s and PUFA’s are considered heart healthy fats if consumed in a balanced manner. Olive, soybean, canola, sunflower and cottonseed oil contain considerable amounts of MUFA’s and PUFA’s. Omega-3 fats are from the PUFA family and commonly found in most nuts (almond, cashew, walnut etc.) in fatty fishes and in plant oils such as flaxseed oil. Consuming omega-3 fats protects the consumer from heart disease and decreases the risk of many lifethreatening diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

New and emerging sources of vegetable fats and oils

Issue 6 2012  •  11 January 2013  •  Guillermo Napolitano, Expert Scientist, Department of Science and Nutrition, Nestlé Product Technology Center

The science and technology of fats and oils is an extraordinarily active field for a number of good reasons. First, it includes a diverse collection of raw materials for a constantly evolving food industry. In addition, fats and oils ingredients influence every aspect of foods, from the mundane caloric content to the sophisticated mechanisms of metabolic regulation of functional ingredients or the crystal structure of a glossy chocolate.

The fat and oil industry provides the raw materials to cover all those needs for an increas – ingly demanding food sector (including the final consumer) using a discrete number of commodity and specialty oils. This is aided by modification techniques, such as hydrogenation (today mostly full compared to partial in the recent past), fractionation, interesterification and blending. The genetic modification of oleaginous crops, which has been practiced since ancient times through classical breeding, along with biotechnology and genetic manipulation are renewed additions to the tool kit of available technologies. This potential for innovation is exploited and reinforced by the market by constantly demanding new functionalities from oils or new oils for old functionalities.

Why lowering trans fats and saturates is important for the confectionery industry

Interviews, Issue 6 2012  •  11 January 2013  •  Helen Bahia, Editor, New Food

Morten Andersen, Technology Specialist at AarhusKarlshamn AB discusses why lowering trans fats and saturates is important for the confectionery industry.

Implementation of removing trans fatty acids originating from PVHO

Issue 5 2012  •  6 November 2012  •  Sergey Melnikov, Lead Technologist and Oil Processing and Fat Blends Team Leader and Hans Zevenbergen, Nutrition & Health Europe and Cross-Category Nutrition & Health Director, Unilever

Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids, or TFA) are formed in the digestive system of ruminants. In the food industry, a similar process called ‘partial hydrogenation’ is used to convert vegetable oils into solid fats for enhanced functionality and shelf life stability. The main sources of TFA in the diet are butter, cheese and meat, as well as bakery products and fried foods1. Scientific research in the 1990s showed that TFA potentially have adverse effects on health linked to an increased risk of heart disease. TFA raise ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and lower ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. More recently, scientific publications have shown that in terms of their impact on the risk for heart disease, TFA are worse than saturated fats (SAFA) on a gram-for-gram basis2-4.

Unilever is recognised as taking a leading role in the drive to reduce dietary intake levels of TFA. The company was the first manufacturer to produce margarines virtually free of TFA. Unilever has been commended in the scientific and business communities for its actions taken within the industry. By the end of 2011, over 99 per cent of food products in the Unilever portfolio were virtually free of TFA from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO). As a part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), the company made the commitment to have all its products virtually free of TFA from PHVO by 2012. In addition to reducing TFA through product reformulations, Unilever has taken care not to increase saturated fat levels. This is achieved whilst keeping Unilever products affordable and of high quality. Maintaining high quality and affordability is important to ensure that consumers do not turn away from nutritionally improved products, as this would ultimately provide no public health benefit.


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