Understanding Trans Fat: What You Need to Know

what is Trans fat
Say No to Trans Fat


In today’s era, Non-Communicable Diseases are increasing rapidly in the world. As per the WHO REPORT ON GLOBAL TRANS FAT Elimination 2021, “Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 40 million people every year; cardiovascular disease is the main killer, accounting for nearly half of all NCD deaths.” It is also pointed out in this report that “many of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 had an underlying NCD, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease or cancer”. So, it becomes an urgent need to take preventive measures to protect against Non-Communicable Diseases especially Cardiovascular Diseases by regulating and eliminating industrially produced Trans Fats or Trans-fatty acids (TFA). So, the purpose of this blog is to bring awareness about this most harmful Fat [i. e. , Trans Fat]. In this blog, we will get the answer to some important questions like what is Trans fat? How are Trans fats made? , Do trans Fats have any adverse effects on our health? , What are the statutory guidelines implemented to eliminate Trans fat? etc.

What is Trans Fat?

Trans Fats are a type of dietary fat. Among the all fats, it is the worst for our Health. Trans fats are unhealthy unsaturated fats found in two forms, one is naturally occurring and another one is artificial trans fats produced industrially. Trans Fats are also called industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids (ITFA) or Partially Hydrogenated oil (PHO). By these names, we can check the presence of Trans Fatty acids in the ingredient list of any food items. They are mostly used in the preparation of margarine and commercially baked or fried foods.

How are Trans Fats made?

Trans Fats are made both Naturally and industrially. But most of the Trans fats are made industrially. It is made through an industrial process by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil resulting in the conversion of oil to semi-solid form at room temperature. These Industrially made Trans Fats are found in various processed foods under the common name of “Partially Hydrogenated Oils [PHO]”. These are easy to use, production cost is cheap and can be stored for a long time. Also, it gives foods a good taste and flavour. Naturally occurring Trans fats are found in less quantity. It is produced in the gut of some animals by some Bacteria. So, foods made from these animals as milk and meat products may contain small quantities of these fats.

 Do Trans Fats have any adverse effects on our

Yes, Trans Fats have so many adverse effects on our Health. Eating more Trans Fats through various foods increases the Bad Cholesterol Level (i.e. LDL) and decreases the Good Cholesterol Level (i.e., HDL) in our blood. Trans Fats increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart Stroke. It also increases the risk of various other diseases like Type-2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer and colon Cancer. In the year 1990, by doing research it is found the adverse effects of Trans Fats on Health. After that in November 2013, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a preliminary observation that Trans Fats (i.e., partially hydrogenated oils) are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in human food. Further, the FDA instituted the labelling regulations for Trans Fats. Trans fats have no known health benefits rather these are a major contributor to Cardio Vascular Disease worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 540,000 deaths each year can be attributed to the intake of industrially produced trans-fatty acids. High intake of trans fats increases the risk of death from any cause by 34% and from coronary heart disease by 28%.

Which foods have Trans fats and how to avoid them?

So many foods in the market have Trans Fats. Generally, the foods manufactured in a variety using partially Hydrogenated oils have Trans Fats. These most commonly include fried foods like doughnuts, rolls, French fries, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, stick margarine and other spreads. There is no safe level of Trans fat consumption. The World Health Organization recommends that total trans fats intake does not exceed 1% of total energy intake, which translates to less than 2. 2g per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. You can determine the amount of Trans fats in a particular packaged food by looking at the Nutrition Facts label. It can also be found in trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils.

”To reduce the consumption of Trans fat, you can follow the steps recommended by the American Heart Association as follows:-

1. Food labels can help to avoid the consumption of additives such as trans-fat. When buying processed foods, choose the product having un-hydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated oils.

 2. You can choose other healthy fats like Nuts, Flax Seeds, Fish etc. having essential unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in place of Trans fats.

3. Avoid the consumption of Sugary foods, Red Meat. Eat a balanced diet of Leafy Vegetables and fruits.

4. Use Healthier Oils when cooking. Use some vegetable oils like Sunflower oil, Soyabean oil, Olive oil, canola oil etc. which are un-hydrogenated.

5. Try to limit the consumption of commercially packaged fried foods and baked foods.

6. Try to avoid packaged foods as much as possible. Eat fresh & healthy foods to remain healthy.

What are the statutory guidelines implemented to eliminate Trans fat?

Several countries and organizations have implemented various policies and guidelines to eliminate the use of trans fats in food products. These guidelines aim to eradicate Non-Communicable Diseases and improve the health of people by decreasing the consumption of Trans fats. Some of the Guidelines and policies implemented by different countries & organizations are as follows:

1. The WHO has been actively involved in encouraging the elimination of trans fats from the global food supply chain. WHO has considered iTFA elimination as a priority target in its Strategic Plan 2019-2023. It has provided guidance and support to countries in implementing policies and regulations to reduce Trans fat intake, aiming to prevent non-communicable diseases.

2. WHO has framed two best guidelines in its policy for TFA elimination as

2.1 A mandatory national limit of 2 g of industrially produced TFA per 100 g of total fat in all foods;

2.2 A mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient in all foods.

3. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a regulation in 2015 requiring food manufacturers to omit partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) as primary ingredients from processed foods.

4. The FDA has instituted labelling regulations for Trans Fats to ensure that the trans fat content in food products is clearly mentioned on labels.

5. Denmark was one of the first countries to impose restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fats in food products. This regulation has a significant impact on the elimination of Trans Fat in their country.

6. India has taken a big step towards eliminating TFA from the food supply chain by instituting a multipronged approach of FSSAI( Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) as a food regulator to limit industrially produced TFA in the edible oils, fats and foods.

These Policies guidelines and regulations indicate the concrete steps to reduce the consumption of trans fats and improve public health. By implementing these measures, countries and organizations have a common mission to lower the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases especially cardiovascular diseases and other health complications associated with the consumption of trans fats.


In conclusion, It is observed that Trans Fats is the creator of most non-communicable diseases. This is an alarming signal for the world health. It is the time to become cautious & take responsibility for all Governments, NGOs, Civil Societies and every individual in the world to implement various policies & guidelines to eliminate industrially-produced Trans Fats in commercially processed food & other baked foods to mitigate the serious risks associated with trans fats. These measures, such as the elimination of partially hydrogenated oils and mandatory labelling of Trans fats, are crucial steps in safeguarding public health and reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and other health complications.

Along with the implementation of the above Govt. Guidelines, it is also essential for individuals to remain cautious about their food choices. It is best to choose a balanced diet having Green vegetables, Fruits, and whole foods and reading food labels carefully can help minimize the intake of trans fats. Additionally, choosing healthier cooking oils and avoiding processed and fried foods can contribute to a healthier lifestyle overall.

By staying aware of the Pros & cons of food ingredients and making conscious food choices, Each individual can play a preventive role in safeguarding their well-being and reducing the risks associated with trans fat consumption.


# WHO Report on Global Trans Fat Elimination 2021
# American Heart Association- Trans Fats—–heart.org.
# Trans Fat Elimination——ncdalliance.org

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