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Medical News & Perspectives
December 11, 2013

FDA Moves to Further Reduce Trans Fat in Food

JAMA. 2013;310(22):2386. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.284218

A man-made fat that helped propel margarine into place as a household staple is being targeted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an unsafe food ingredient.

Trans fats, or partially hydrogenated fats, which naturally occur in foods in small amounts, emerged on the food manufacturing scene in the early 20th century, according to the American Heart Association (http://bit.ly/f3P9Tm). Over time, manufactured trans fats became common ingredients in products such as margarine and shortening. During the mid-1980s, a push to reduce the use of saturated fats, which were known to contribute to heart disease, led many restaurants to replace saturated fats from beef tallow or plant oils with trans fats. The move was driven by the belief that these fats were less problematic than saturated fats.

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