Current Brazilian legislation is insufficient to inform consumers about trans fats content in foods: Study


Analysis of 11,434 products revealed that 18.7% presented a source of trans fats in the list of ingredients, with scientists from the University of Sao Paulo, University of Campinas, and the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense calling for measures to further restrict the use of trans fats and to improve nutritional labeling.

“In the case of trans fats, which are proven to cause significant health damage, the discussion on regulation must advance towards the restriction of industrial use,” ​they wrote in the journal Nutrients. “Trans fat limits should be imposed from the raw material used in the food industry, and no oils or fats with a high content of trans fats should be available to be used in Brazilian food products. This measure could benefit the entire population and aid inspection by competent agents.

“We believe our paper contributes to advancing the topic on the use of trans fats in Brazil and could be used to inform policymakers who are discussing the new regulation in the country, and also as a source of information for media and the general public about the products available in our supermarkets, aiming to increase public awareness of the need for policy options that supports better food environments.”

The issue

Trans fats – or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) – were attractive for the food industry due to their extended shelf life and flavor stability, and they displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.

However, scientific evidence mounted to show they raise levels of LDL (so-called ‘bad’) cholesterol, while lowering levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol, thereby clogging arteries and causing heart disease.


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