In 2003 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that all trans fatty acids (TFAs) in foods had to be labelled on the contents of all packaged foods by 2006.The reason for this was that research had shown that trans fats mainly found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils commonly called margarine are associated with a high risk for heart disease. TFAs were shown to raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while lowering the levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In fact, just 2% of total calories from TFAs has been shown to increase the risk for coronary heart disease and heart attacks by 23%.
New York City Board of Health Banned use of all TFAs in Restaurants in New York City
However, this directive by the FDA did not apply to foods used in restaurants. Thus, in 2006 the New York City Board of Health banned the use of TFAs in all New York City restaurants. Food that was stored, used or served in restaurants could not contain more than 0.5 grams of TFAs per serving by 2008.
A new study was published March 13, 2019 in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) that shows that the blood levels of TFAs in New Yorkers have been reduced and thus the risk for cardiovascular events like heart attacks has been lowered.
The New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES)
The study was based on two cross-sectional population-based New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (HANES) conducted in 2004 and 2013-14.
Those who ate less that one meal a week in a restaurant had a 51.1% decline in TFAs in their blood.
Those who ate out in restaurants four or more times a week had a 61.6% reduction in the levels of TFAs in their blood.
Summary of the Results
The blood levels of TFAs in adult New Yorkers dropped between 2004 and 2014. Since the greatest drops were in those who ate more often in restaurants, this gives evidence that restricting the use of TFAs in restaurant food was effective in reducing exposure to trans fatty acids TFAs).
Impact of the Results of the HANES Study
The researchers believe that the results of this HANES study will have an impact for restricting use of TFAs in restaurants all over the United States.
New FDA Nation-wide Ban on TFAs for all US Restaurants and Grocery Stores
On June 18, 2018 a nation-wide ban by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on using TFAs in all US restaurants and grocery stores went into effect and the researchers believe that this will also lead to a significant drop in TFAs in the American population with a lowered risk for heart disease and heart attacks.
World Health Organization (WHO) Called for Elimination of TFAs from the World Food Supply
On May 14, 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the elimination of TFAs from the world food supply to prevent heart disease and heart attacks. These TFAs such as margarine and ghee are often found as ingredients in snack good, baked foods and fried foods. They are popular in commercial foods because they have a longer shelf life than other fats.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women and also in New York City. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 Americans die every year from Heart disease which is one in every four deaths.
Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack (525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 are in people who already have had a heart attack).
Rehabilitation after a Heart Attack
If you or your loved one are in need of rehabilitation following a heart attack or heart surgery, the Park Crescent Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey offers state-of-the-art short-term care and cardiac rehabilitation.
Since research has shown a definite association between eating foods containing trans fatty acids (TFAs) with coronary heart disease and heart attacks, it certainly pays to eliminate these from all diets.