Professor Andrew Sinclair, a leading Australian nutrition scientist from Deakin University, has warned that some snack foods on Australian supermarket shelves contain high levels of trans fats acids (TFAs) and is calling for mandatory labelling of TFAs in processed foods.
Prof Sinclair and others reviewed (MJA June 2012) 3 recent studies showing that certain processed snacks have large quantities of TFAs. 1-2g of trans fat per day is considered tolerable, however in Australia there is no labelling rules requiring disclosure of trans fats and without these there is no way of knowing exactly how much we are consuming.
Choosing products such as popcorn, croissants, biscuits, wafers, some breakfast bars and similar processed foods can lead an individual to easily exceed the tolerated limit. For example 3 brands of butter flavoured microwaved popcorn that were tested had 8g to 6g of trans fatty acids in a single serving, and how easy is it to eat more than a serving when watching a flick! A cinnamon donut had 4g and a pastie had 2g.
Trans fat intake poses a significant cardiovascular disease risk, more so than a high intake of dietary saturated fatty acids, owing to the double edge sword effect of TFAs increasing LDL levels and reducing HDL.
Kaur, G., Cameron-Smith, D., & Sinclair, A. J. (2012). Are trans fats a problem in Australia? Medical Journal of Australia, 196(11), 666.