In a measure aimed to make the U.S. healthier, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently banned the practice of creating artificial trans fat in processed food.
The truth about trans fat:
In a FDA report, the agency highlighted the difference between naturally forming trans fat versus artificial trans fat:
Small amounts of natural trans fat, produced in the gut of some animals, can be found in meat and milk products.
Artificial trans fat is created by food manufacturers who use partially hydrogenated oil (the product of adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, also known as PHOs) to improve the shelf life, flavor and texture of foods.
The FDA reported that PHOs are the main source of artificial trans fat found in the U.S.
Foods that contain trans fat:
The FDA cites examples of foods that contain trans fat that include:
What this ban means:
The FDA is giving food companies three years to comply to the new ban.
"This will allow companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs," the press release stated.
The benefits of banning the use of PHOs, the primary source of artificial trans fat, could potentially reduce coronary heart disease.
The FDA's Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. noted,
"This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year."
Cover photo courtesy of: iStock/ (c) mikdam