The role of trans fatty acids in atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and infant development

The process of partial hydrogenation converts vegetable oils in semisolid fats, like margarines, that contain high concentrations of trans fatty acids and are commonly used in bakery, as well as for deep frying in fast food chains and other restaurants. Initially, these fats were considered the healthy solution, because they substituted butter and other cholesterol fats.

However, the last decades there is continuing evidence that trans fatty acids have potential harmful action in blood lipids metabolism, atherosclerosis development and cardiovascular disease, as well as in infant development. Consequently, many countries have enacted in order to reduce total trans fatty acids percentage in the daily fat intake, while others are waiting strongest evidence to enact. This article reviews the evidence of trans fatty acids effects, in correlation with atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, inflammation and diabetes, and infant development from the major studies in the field.

Ilias Dalainas, Haroula P Ioannou