Trans fatty acids: There are numerous hidden sickmakers lurking in donuts or fries

Trans fatty acids: There are numerous hidden sickmakers lurking in donuts or fries


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Health hazards: Dangerous trans fatty acids lurk in many foods
It has long been known that unsaturated fatty acids harm health. They have a negative effect on cholesterol levels and thus promote the development of arteriosclerosis and increase the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Nevertheless, there are no limit values ​​in Germany.

Trans fatty acids endanger health
Trans fats are an everyday health hazard. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), just five grams a day can increase the risk of a heart attack by 23 percent. In addition, studies have shown that these fats are jointly responsible for high blood pressure, overweight and obesity as well as diabetes. You can lurk in a variety of foods, such as donuts, croissants or fries, but many consumers are not even aware of where the harmful fatty acids are hidden. The European Union has long been debating how to reduce trans fatty acids. Only a few countries have so far decided to set maximum quantities. Germany is not among them.

On the other side of the Atlantic you are much further there. Trans fats are banned in the United States. The fats from food must disappear there within three years. The internet portal "derwesten.de" allows various experts from Germany to speak in a contribution on the topic.

Consumers cannot see hidden fats
"Trans fatty acids are undesirable components of our food," said Martina Junk, spokeswoman for the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. You can raise the level of (bad) LDL cholesterol while lowering the level of (good) HDL cholesterol. This can result in blocked vessels and a heart attack. Trans fats are artificially hardened fats that are produced, among other things, during the industrial hardening of oils. "For example, puff pastries, fried foods, potato chips or other snacks often contain trans fatty acids," explained Isabelle Keller of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). In addition, the risky fats can hide in ready meals and bag soups. Although consumers cannot tell whether and how many trans fatty acids are in their food, they do not have to be labeled on food packaging in Germany.

Every tenth German consumes too much trans fatty acids
"Anyone who has high levels of fat in the blood or cardiovascular problems should be careful," explained Professor Christian Weber, chief physician in the field of cardiology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. But also "a noteworthy proportion, especially young people, consumes more trans fatty acids than recommended", says the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection. Young men between the ages of 14 and 34 belong to the risk group, as a 2013 study by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment showed. According to this, the peak value of some study participants was 19 grams of trans fatty acids per day. A value of around 2.6 grams per day is considered safe for men. On average, two grams are considered harmless in women and around 1.4 grams in children. According to the study, around ten percent of Germans consume more trans fatty acids than recommended.

USA is one step ahead
The most consistent step to date has been taken in the USA. There, as reported at the beginning, the manufacturers now have three years to convert their products. They have had to label the trans fat content on the packaging since 2006. Denmark is a pioneer in the EU countries. In 2003 it was the first country to introduce a limit of two grams of trans fatty acids per 100 grams for food. Comparable maximum amounts for the unhealthy fats have also been set by law in Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

In Germany there are still no legally regulated maximum amounts for trans fatty acids. Limit values ​​set by the EU only apply to baby food and olive oil. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture launched an initiative with the food industry to minimize harmful fats. However, the jointly drafted guidelines are not binding for food sold in Germany. According to Professor Weber, mandatory maximum amounts would certainly make sense: “In my view, there is a need. That would be helpful for those who are not sure what types of fats are unhealthy and what foods they contain. ”(Ad)

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