Trans fats

Chocolate cake

Trans fats occur naturally in some foods such as meat and dairy products. However, it's industrially produced trans fats or trans fatty acids, which have been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Industrially produced trans fats have been found to raise the levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in our blood, which is linked to the development of atheroma – a fatty material that builds up within our artery walls.

These fats have been found in foods such as manufactured biscuits, cakes and pastries, and fried foods in restaurants and takeaways. In recent years members of the UK food industry have voluntarily reduced the levels of trans fats in their foods.

We are now calling for a series of measures to eliminate industrial trans fats in the UK, including:

  • target levels of trans fats which all food manufacturers should work towards, although it is important that trans fats are not replaced with saturated fats
  • food manufacturers and retailers should clearly label trans fats on food packaging, so that people can make informed decisions about their diet
  • if voluntary targets are unsuccessful, the UK Government should take legislative action to remove industrial trans fats.

Trans fats are however only one part of the picture, and action is also needed to reduce saturated fat consumption to within safe limits.

If you would like any further information, please read our policy statement or email us at [email protected].