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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the a-fat-lot-of-good-that-will-do dept.

FDA to ban trans-fats within 3 years

The FDA is finally rectifying one of their biggest failures ever -- trans fats. The FDA on Tuesday ruled that trans fat is not "generally recognized as safe" for use in human food.

"In many ways, trans fat is a real tragic story for the American diet," Nissen said. "In the 1950s and '60s, we mistakenly told Americans that butter and eggs were bad for them and pushed people to margarine, which is basically trans fat. What we've learned now is that saturated fat is relatively neutral -- it is the trans fat that is really harmful and we had made the dietary situation worse."

USA to ban partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil

According to multiple sources, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to ban partially-hydrogenated oil, a major source of trans-fats, which have been shown to cause heart disease. The ban will go into effect in 3 years.

New York Times:

The agency has proposed that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be "generally recognized as safe."

That means companies would have to prove that such oils are safe to eat, a high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of them, a conclusion that the F.D.A. cited in its reasoning.

Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype, although it now contains no trans fat.

Official press release from the FDA:

In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS [generally recognized as safe] and is finalizing that determination after considering public comments.

Since 2006, manufacturers have been required to include trans fat content information on the Nutrition Facts label of foods. Between 2003 and 2012, the FDA estimates that consumer trans fat consumption decreased about 78 percent and that the labeling rule and industry reformulation of foods were key factors in informing healthier consumer choices and reducing trans fat in foods. While trans fat intake has significantly decreased, the current intake remains a public health concern.

The Guardian:

The oils were popularized in the 1950s, when it was thought that they would be healthier than saturated fats. Americans turned to products such as trans fat-laden margarine in droves after the federal government recommended a cutback in saturated animal fats.

Today, there is a broad scientific consensus that the oils contribute to heart disease and are linked to type two diabetes.

A young nutritionist at the University of Illinois discovered some of the first evidence that the oils could be unhealthy in 1957, when he found large amounts of the fat in the clogged arteries of patients who died of heart attacks. The scientist, Fred Kummerow, followed that discovery with decades of scientific papers, despite that his findings wouldn't be widely accepted until decades later.

In August 2013, with the help of San Diego attorney Gregory S Weston, Kummerow sued the FDA for its inaction, saying it had violated the New Deal-era legislation that granted the FDA authority over food safety. By November, the FDA had responded to the lawsuit by issuing the tentative ruling.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:46AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:46AM (#197098) Journal

    Tentative Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils; Request for Comments and for Scientific Data and Information []
    Section IV. Safety []

    FDA has summarized findings reported in the literature since the publication of the July 2003 final rule (Refs. 13, 14). Since 2003, both controlled trials and observational human studies published on trans fatty acid consumption have consistently confirmed the adverse effects of trans fatty acid consumption on intermediary risk factors (e.g., serum lipoproteins) and the increased risk of CHD (Ref. 13). Expert review panels from the IOM/NAS in 2005 (Ref. 2), the American Heart Association (Refs. 15, 16), the American Dietetic Association (Ref. 17), the World Health Organization (Ref. 18), the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Refs. 19, 20), and the FDA Food Advisory Committee Nutrition Subcommittee (Ref. 21) agree that trans fat-mediated changes in lipid metabolism, pro-inflammatory effects, and endothelial dysfunction lead to dose-dependent increases in CHD events in humans. These expert panels all concluded that there is no threshold intake level for industrially-produced trans fat that would not increase an individual's risk of CHD, or adverse effects on risk factors for CHD. Moreover, the panels also agree that trans fatty acids have a stronger effect on the risk of CHD than saturated fatty acids.

    This significant recent evidence demonstrating the increased risk of CHD from consumption of any amount of trans fat means that consumption of PHOs, the primary dietary source of trans fat, also leads to increased LDL-C levels and an increased risk of CHD. These demonstrated effects support a determination that the consumption of PHOs could be harmful (i.e., increased risk for CHD) under any condition of use in food. Accordingly, we tentatively determine that this evidence erodes any basis to support the GRAS status of these oils, and therefore that there is no longer a consensus among qualified scientific experts that PHOs, the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, are safe under any condition of use in food.

    We note that, in addition to an increased risk of CHD, trans fat consumption (and, accordingly, consumption of food products containing PHOs) has also been connected to a number of other adverse effects on health. Some studies suggest that trans fat consumption may worsen insulin resistance, especially in those who are predisposed to the condition (e.g., preexisting insulin resistance, greater adiposity, or lower physical activity levels) (Refs. 22, 23). Trans fat may also increase diabetes risk (Refs. 22-26) although this association requires further confirmation. In addition, there is some evidence that fetuses and breastfeeding infants of mothers who regularly consume trans fat may be at higher risk for impaired growth (which may be due to inhibition of the synthesis of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that are needed for their growth and development) (Refs. 27-31). Scientific evidence also shows that, in addition toincreasing LDL-C, trans fat intake lowers serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), a protective form of serum cholesterol (Refs. 32-39).

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:08AM (#197104)

    I checked the first two references and they are not available:

    13. Memorandum from J. Park to M. Honigfort, August 10, 2005.

    14. Memorandum from J. Park to M. Honigfort, August 19, 2010.

    I also checked (ref 22: [] It's meh, basically no effect of the transfats, n=20 people, no real theory to explain the data, etc. From the sounds of it the others are going to be various review articles and I'll end up down the citation hole.

    • (Score: 2) by SubiculumHammer on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:32AM

      by SubiculumHammer (5191) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:32AM (#197109)

      By citation hole, you mean the meat. Reviews are important.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:59AM (#197115)

        Reviews are important. Not reviews that cite other reviews. Of course it sometimes makes sense to do so "also check out this review", but only in addition to the primary evidence.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:15AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:15AM (#197120)

          Here is a fun fact about how the world works: dig deep enough and you will hit an assumption. Nothing is exempt from that, not even hard science.

          Learn to accept it and be a better person for it. Oh, and do your own homework too. Bring links of your own if you find something, even if it is the lack of something.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:38AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:38AM (#197127)

            Here is a fun fact about how the world works: dig deep enough and you will hit an assumption. Nothing is exempt from that, not even hard science.

            There is no problem with that. There is a problem with the way people obfuscate and hide their assumptions. This is not necessarily malicious. When it comes to medical literature, most of the authors don't even realize what assumptions they are using. Either it is a stats assumption which 90+% don't understand, or it is the need for controls that they do not realize because our knowledge of the human body is rudimentary.

            I write out as many assumptions as I can think of, and still probably miss many. I also write prose, code, and equations to make my thought process as clear as possible. This seems like common sense to me, yet it is extremely rare in medical research.

            Bring links of your own if you find something

            Hard to tell due to AC posting but I do: []

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:49AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:49AM (#197131)

            Here is a fun fact about how the world works: dig deep enough and you will hit an assumption.

            I don't think you can prove that. Heh. I see what I did there.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:19PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:19PM (#197233)

            But if you're making assumptions when you can dig far deeper, then it isn't hard science at all. And it certainly isn't grounds for banning something.