After the Food and Drug Administration required food manufacturers to label how much trans fat is in their products, levels of the unhealthy ingredient in the bloodstream dropped by 58 percent. (Associated Press photo by Ed Andrieski)
The numbers come from a study assessing blood levels between 2000 and 2008. FDA required trans-fat labeling in 2003. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the decline after analyzing blood drawn for the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 people. The drop was seen in white adults; more research is being conducted to see if it also dropped in other ethnic and racial groups.
"The decline, unusually big and abrupt, strongly suggests government regulation was effective in altering a risk factor for heart disease for a broad swatch of the population," reports David Brown for The Washington Post.
Trans fat is typically used for deep-frying and as an ingredient in baked goods. One study determined "if a person increases total calorie intake 2 percent all in the form of trans fat, risk of heart attack rises by about 20 percent," Brown reports.
"Our findings provide information about the effectively of these interventions," said Hubert W. Vester, a CDC chemist who led the analysis. "This reduction is substantial progress that should lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people." (Read more)