Trans Fat Intake Is Associated with Excess Risks for All-Cause Death and Adverse CV Outcomes

Long Work Hours Are Associated with Excess Risk for Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke
November 9, 2017
Few Commercial Diets Show Evidence of Sustained Weight Loss
November 9, 2017

Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP reviewing de Souza RJ et al. BMJ 2015 Aug 12.

Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACPThe FDA is requiring all trans fat to be eliminated from foods by 2018.

For decades, clinicians have encouraged patients to consume diets low in saturated fat. However, emerging evidence suggests that saturated fat intake is not associated as clearly with health risks as we previously thought. In contrast, trans fat intake is associated unambiguously with elevated cardiovascular (CV) risk, which has prompted the FDA to declare that trans fat is “not generally recognized as safe” for use in human food and to set a 2018 deadline for food companies to eliminate trans fat from their products. In this meta-analysis of dozens of prospective observational studies, researchers assessed associations between saturated or trans fat intake and several health outcomes.

After adjustment for multiple variables, high intake of saturated fat (found in meat, eggs, milk products, salmon, chocolate, and palm oil) was not associated with excess risks for all-cause death, coronary heart disease (CHD)–related mortality, CV-related mortality, total CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes.

After adjustment for confounders, high total trans fat intake was associated with significant excess risks for all-cause death (relative risk, 1.3), CHD-related mortality (RR, 1.3), and total CHD (RR, 1.2).

Intake of industrial trans fat (found in processed foods) was associated with excess risks for CHD-related mortality (RR, 1.2) and total CHD (RR, 1.4), whereas intake of ruminant trans fat (produced in the gut of some grazing animals and comprising a small proportion of fat in dairy products, beef, and lamb) was associated with lower risk for type 2 diabetes (RR, 0.6).