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Trans-Fatty Acids: Good or Bad?

Berdanier, Carolyn D. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3182394776
Nutrient Intake

Over the last few years, there has been increasing interest in the relationship between industrially produced trans-fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that processed foods must be labeled to indicate the total trans-fatty acid content. The label will not indicate the specific fatty acids, merely the total in the food. Some states and some countries have banned or limited the use of foods that contain these fatty acids without stipulating the individual fatty acids that are of concern. A general ban or limitation of trans-fatty acids in foods might not be in the best interest of the consumer because not all trans-fatty acids have deleterious effects on body function. Some have beneficial effects. This article will address this complex food issue with respect to knowledge about the different trans-fatty acids and their effects on metabolism.

A primer on trans fatty acids

Carolyn D. Berdanier, PhD, is professor emerita at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where she served as head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition. After 11 years in this position, she stepped down to resume research full time. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture, and various other organizations concerned with nutrition. She is a member of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, the American Diabetes Association, and several honorary societies. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nutrition, FASEB Journal, Nutrition Research, and Biochemical Archives. Her current interests include studies on the role of nutrients in the control of mitochondrial gene expression. In addition to editing the Handbook of Nutrition and Food, Dr Berdanier has written, edited, and coedited several best-selling books for CRC, including the Advanced Nutrition titles, CRC Desk Reference for Nutrition and the Nutrition and Gene Expression titles.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Carolyn D. Berdanier, PhD, 200 Dickson Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15202 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.