Public Release: 

University of Minnesota study finds people are consuming less trans-fatty acids

Findings may help explain the decrease in coronary heart disease in the U.S.

University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (September 9, 2003)--People are eating less trans-fatty acids than they were two decades ago, according to research conducted at the University of Minnesota published in this month's Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In recent years, concern has arisen about the potential health hazards of trans-fatty acids in the American diet.

Predominantly found in hydrogenated vegetable oil, trans-fatty acids adversely affect health and provide no known benefits to health. This study may partially explain the decrease in coronary heart disease in the United States since the late 1960s.

Results of this study come two months after the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will require food manufacturers to include trans-fatty acids amounts on all nutrition labels. "Americans are making great strides in improving cardiovascular health by consuming less trans-fatty acids. Awareness of the harmful effects caused by these acids is critical to improving health," says Lisa Harnack, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study. "This study magnifies the fact that there are good and bad choices people can make concerning fat and oil consumption in their diets."

Little previous research had been done on trans-fatty acid intake in the United States. This study examined trends in trans-fatty consumption from 1980-1982 to 1995-1997 using data collected as part of the Minnesota Heart Survey, a population-based study in a large urban area of cardiovascular risk factors, morbidity, and mortality.

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