Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Trans fats have caused premature deaths in thousands of people since 1910

Biochemist Fred Kummerow, who turned 100 in October 2014, continues to conduct research on heart disease and trans fats. In 2009, he petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban trans fats in foods and followed up by filing a lawsuit in 2013. In November 2013, the FDA made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the primary source of industrially produced trans fats) are not generally recognized as safe in foods. Here is Kummerow’s latest commentary on the topic. 

  •  It took years to realize that all trans isomers did not have the same properties. Artificial trans fatty acids and ruminant trans fatty acids have entirely different properties in vivo as well as in vitro.
  • When the amount of artificial trans fat in margarines was lowered, the sudden cardiac death rate also showed a decrease.pho
  • When trans fats are out of the food supply, there will be 325,000 fewer sudden cardiac deaths per year, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control.

In 1901, a German chemist named Wilhelm Normann showed that liquid oils could be hydrogenated, and patented the process in 1902. Production of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) commenced in 1909. The Procter & Gamble Co. acquired the US rights to the Normann patent and in 1911 it began marketing the first PHOs. The hydrogenated fat replaced lard and butter. PHOs had desirable culinary properties as they had melting points close to body temperatures and became liquid in the mouth like butter. In 1910, no one knew what effect PHOs would have on health.

The present mix of dietary fat in the marketplace results in less prostacyclin synthesis, which is an important factor in cardiovascular health (1). Prostacyclin is a dominant prostaglandin produced by endothelial cells in arteries and is a potent vasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation and leukocyte adhesion. It limits the response to thromboxane, which is a powerful inducer of vasoconstriction and platelet adhesion on the arterial wall and is partially responsible for the interruption of blood flow. The rise of artificial trans fats in the diet correlates to the rate of age-adjusted heart disease-related deaths in the United States since 1910.

Composition of trans fats

It took nearly five decades before the biochemical structure of trans fatty acids was understood. The partial hydrogenation of soybean oil adds atoms of hydrogen to 50% of the bonds 9,12 in linoleic acid (n-6) and to 50% of the bonds 9,12,15 in linolenic acid (n-3), converting them to 50% stearic acid(2). Forty to fifty percent of the double bonds of fatty acids in n-6 and n-3 are shifted to different positions on the carbon chain, making nine different synthetic trans fatty acids and five different cis fatty acids. These are cis and trans isomers of octadecenoic and octadecadienoic acids that are not present in animal fats or plant oils.

Both the cis and trans isomers interfere with the action of two isoforms of constitutive COX-1 and an inducible COX-2 enzyme. COX-2 is the enzyme that recognizes the isomers produced during hydrogenation as a foreign substrate and reacts to them by causing inflammation and inhibition of prostacyclin. The 14 synthetic fatty acids are a source of energy but interfere with the conversion of n-6 to arachidonic acidand n-3 to eicosapentaenoic acid (2).

Several studies, in my laboratory, have called attention to the trans fatty acids (TFAs) present in margarines and shortenings. Samples of tissue obtained from human autopsies were shown to contain up to 14% TFAs(3). Samples of fat from human placental, maternal, fetal, and baby tissue were also examined for the presence of TFAs(4). While the maternal tissue contained considerable amounts of TFAs, these lipids were not found to any measurable extent in placental, fetal, or baby fat(5).

This was also shown in rats that were fed transfat. When the transfat was removed from the diet, their tissue metabolized the trans fat and no longer contained trans fat(6). The results of these studies indicated that the TFAs present in human tissue apparently arise solely from dietary fat, and they do not normally appear in the tissues unless a source of TFAs is included in the diet.

Difference between PHOs and ruminant fats

It was believed by the FDA that trans fat in partially hydrogenated soybean oil (PHO) had the same chemical structure and worked the same way in our bodies as natural vaccinic acid. However, these two trans fat sources have entirely different properties in vitro as well as in vivo ((1)). The elaidic acid in PHO has a double bond at position 9, while the vaccinic acid in ruminant fats is at position 11. The enzymes in the body recognize vaccinic acid (butterfat and beef fat) as the fatty acid that has been in the diet for untold generations(7).

In vitro and in vivo study

An in vitro study showed that the fatty acids in partially hydrogenated fat had different properties than fatty acids in animal fat or vegetable oil. Trans acids increased the incorporation of 45Ca2+ into the cells, whereas cisacids did not incorporate 45Ca2+ into the coronary artery cells(8). An in vivo study showed that the TFAs inhibited the synthesis of arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, in the phospholipid membrane of arterial cells (8). It was concluded that dietary trans fat perturbed essential fatty acid metabolism, which led to changes in the phospholipid fatty acid composition in the arterial wall, the target tissue of atherogenesis. Partially hydrogenated fat is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease because arachidonic acid is needed to synthesize prostacyclin.

Data from the CDC

Data obtained from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the rate of death from heart disease started increasing in 1910 and continued until 1968, at which time the industry lowered the percentage of trans fat in shortenings and edible oils from 44% to 27% and increased the amount of linoleic acid from 8% to 25% (Table 1) (1).

Table 1. Average composition of shortening and mar

In 1968, the age-adjusted rate of heart disease-related deaths began to decrease. Data from the CDC state that almost 600,000 Americans died of heart disease in 2011, with 325,000 of those from sudden cardiac death. The other 275,000 deaths were due to calcification of the coronary arteries to 100% occlusion( (1)).

Tentative determination to ban PHOs

On November 7, 2013, FDA released a tentative determination regarding PHOs (9). It stated that PHOs, which are a primary source of industrially produced TFAs, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food. The FDA requested comments of scientific data and information on this determination giving 60 days for responses. Before the 60 days were over, the agency extended the comment period by another 60 days until March 8, 2014. When the determination is finalized, it will mean that food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs without prior FDA approval.

The FDA released this information in the Federal Register on November 8, 2013 (9): “Trans fats are an integral component of PHOs and are purposely produced in these oils to affect the properties of the oil and the characteristics of the food to which they are added.” At zero percent of trans fat content in the body, the prostacyclin release from vascular endothelial cells is 38.7 ng/mg of cell protein (1).

Data released in the Federal Register states that in 2012 the average American consumed 2.1 grams of trans fats per day, with the 90% percentile consuming 4.2 grams per day (9). While consuming 2.1 grams of trans fat per day, the arterial cells will release 25 ng/mg cell protein, which is a significant drop from 38.7 ng/mg at zero percent. Consuming 4.2 grams/day of trans fat the cells will only release 15.5 ng/mg cell protein (1). As more grams per day of transfat are consumed, prostacyclin release from vascular endothelial cells to cell protein will decrease, proving an inverse relationship between the two processes.


The partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils has been shown to have an adverse effect on  health. The FDA believed that artificial trans fats had the same chemical structure and worked the same way in the human body as natural trans fats. It has been shown that this is not true. The sooner the FDA finalizes its decision to make artificial trans fat non-GRAS, the sooner more lives will be saved.
I believe that heart disease is not a disease but a somatic response to a simple error involving the effect of trans fat in partially hydrogenated oil on prostacyclin synthesis. Therefore, the present mix of dietary fat in the marketplace results in less prostacyclin synthesis and more sudden cardiac death.

Fred A. Kummerow is an adjunct professor in comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He can be contacted at

  1. Kummerow, F.A., Two lipids in the diet, rather than cholesterol, are responsible for heart failure and stroke, Clin. Lipidol. 9:189–204, 2014.
  2. Kummerow, F.A., The negative effects of hydrogenated trans fats and what to do about them, Atherosclerosis 205:458–465, 2009.
  3. Johnston PV, Johnson OC, Kummerow FA. Occurrence of trans fatty acids in human tissue. Science. 1957;126:698-699.
  4. Johnston PV, Johnson OC, Kummerow FA. Non-transfer of trans fatty acids from mother to young. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1957;96:760-762.
  5. Johnston PV, Kummerow FA, Walton CH. Origin of the trans fatty acids in human tissue. Proc Soc  Biol Med. 1958;99:735-736.
  6. Johnston PV, Johnson OC, Kummerow FA. Deposition in tissues and fecal excretion of trans fatty acids in the rat. J Nutr. 1958;65:13-23.
  7. Kummerow FA. Improving hydrogenated fat for the world population. CVD Prevention and Control. 2005;1:157-164.
  8. Kummerow, F.A., Q. Zhou, M.M. Mahfouz, et al, Trans fatty acids in the phospholipid of arterial cells, Life Sci. 74:2707-2723, 2004.
  9. Tentative Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils; Request for Comments and for Scientific Data and Information, Federal Register 78:67169–67175, 2013. Access online.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NEW Olive Oil Book : A Reference for Olive Oil Professionals and Enthusiasts (+ Recipes)

Choosing or selecting an olive oil for cooking your holiday meal can confound both professionals and home cooks. Olive Oil: A Field Guide provides clear guidelines to help choose and buy the best olive oil. 

If you plan on cooking a Turkey with olive oil this holiday season we have found a few recipes that should guarantee a healthy and flavorful meal.

Other holiday favorites can also be improved by using a quality olive oil. For mashed potatoes. try Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic. We all know olive oil can be great for roasting vegetables but don't forget dessert! According to the Olive Oil Times olive oil can improve the taste of baked goods as well.

“Most people don’t think about using olive oil in their sweet or savory baked goods,” Gunn explains.  “The flavor of a mild or light olive oil will not be detected and the fruitiness of it will complement the other flavors in baked sweets.  When making pumpkin bread, oatmeal cookies, cakes, or pie crust, substitute a mild olive oil for butter and use about 1/4 less than the amount of butter you would normally use.” [From "Pouring on the Olive Oil for Thanksgiving"]

I hope that the Olive Oil: A Field Guide can help you in selecting an authentic quality oil for healthy cooking.

And please share your favorite recipes with!

Plant Managers- NFPA 36: Standard for Solvent Extraction Plants Open for Comment!

What is NFPA 36?
This standard provides design, construction, and operational requirements to mitigate fire and explosion hazards in plants involved in the extraction processing of animal and vegetable oils and fats using Class I flammable hydrocarbon liquids.

What does NFPA 36 address?
Provisions cover general operational requirements; solvent unloading, storage and handling; preparation and meal finishing processes; extraction process; and extraction process equipment. Table of Contents


REMINDER: The Public Input closing date for Fall 2016 documents is January 5, 2015 for online submissions.  Please note that NFPA is only accepting online submissions for this revision cycle and moving forward.  Paper submissions will not be accepted for any NFPA standard starting with the Fall 2016 Revision Cycle, this includes emails and faxes.

SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC INPUT ELECTRONICALLY!  The Fall 2016 documents are accepting Public Input electronically through the Electronic Submission (e-PI) System.  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Changes to browser software sometimes results in unexpected behavior.  This site has known issues with specific releases of Google Chrome (ver. 34) and Internet Explorer 8 (ver. 8.0.7601.17514).  If you received XSLT Forms Exceptions errors when using Chrome, or if you having difficulty submitting Public Input using Internet Explorer 8, please try using Firefox or a different version of your chosen browser.

e-PI System and Instructions.  Submit Public Input by selecting your document from the list at, then Click on the “Next Edition” tab (see screenshot below).  You can submit input or just start and save your work in progress.  If you would like to review instructions on this process, please go to  For your information, a list of the Fall 2016 Revision Cycle documents can be found at:

If you have any questions when you use the new system, you can contact Debbie Baio at (617) 984-7242 or by email.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fibroblast growth factor-21 and the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids - FREE Lipids paper of the month!

The article of the month from Lipids is "Fibroblast growth factor-21 and the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids" by Joan Villarroya and colleagues in the Planavila Group at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.

"This work shows that although omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have an antidiabetic effect, this effect was not through the induction of antidiabetic fibroblast growth factor-21 gene expression," writes Eric J. Murphy, editor-in-chief of the journal. "Rather, dietary omega-3 fatty acids increase the short-term expression of target genes associated with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha."

The article is available for free download through Jan. 18, 2015.

Find Out More

Interested in publishing your work or serving as a reviewer and/ or editor for AOCS Press? Please contact Janet Brown AOCS Director, Content Development (


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AOCS Newsletter Highlights November 2014

AOCS Press Sale Save 15% and get free shipping on these AOCS MONOGRAPH SERIES ON OILSEEDS titles with promo code OMS14. Offer expires December 31, 2014.
To order: |

Award News
Since 1999, AOCS has selected members who have made outstanding contributions to the technological aspects of the profession and to the growth of the Society. This is a distinctive and prestigious honor that can only be earned through years (15 or more) of dedication and service. Nominations due December 1 - visit the website for more details.

For graduate students!
Thomas H. Smouse Memorial Fellowship is now open. The award is for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Fellowship includes a $10,000 stipend and $5,000 for research funding. Application deadline is February 2, 2015. Visit the website for more details.

Inform Free Features

Proclamations about the dangers of trans fats are everywhere, it seems. Is it possible, though, that aldehydic lipid oxidation products (LOPs) in thermally stressed cooking oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids are a far greater danger to public health? Read about the detection, monitoring, and deleterious health effects of LOPs in this month's first free article from Inform, the AOCS member magazine.

Next, find out how AkzoNobel developed a surfactant-based cleaner that delivers a strong combination of heavy-duty grease removal and low streaking in the second free article from the November/December issue.

Looking for a Job?

AOCS Career Services regularly posts some of the best career opportunities in the industry.  Take a look below at several current listings, or get more information on the Career Center website.
Technical Services News
Recognized and Accredited Olive Oil Sensory Panels
AOCS would like to thank all of the panels that participated in the 2013-2014 Olive Oil Sensory Panel proficiency testing series. Several labs have been awarded for excellence in testing and achieved Recognized and Accredited Panel status in this series.

Reminder: the next enrollment deadline for the AOCS Laboratory Proficiency Program (LPP) is November 20. The LPP enrollment process has changed with the upgrade to our new website and store. If you are experiencing difficulty enrolling or would like help, please contact Dawn Shepard.

AOCS @ Work
AOCS CEO Pat Donnelly kicked off the Oils and Fats International Congress 2014 held in Kuala Lumpur by delivering the 15th Tan Sri Dato Seri B. Bek-Nielsen Foundation Lecture. Donnelly discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the global oils and fats industry. The Congress took place November 5-7 and was organized by Oils & Fats International and Malaysian Oil Scientists' and Technologists' Association, in collaboration with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

AOCS Governing Board
The AOCS Governing Board met on October 23, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. During the meeting, members reviewed the AOCS 2015 budget and operating plans. A major focus of the Governing Board will continue to center on performance improvement for specific products and services, identifying new opportunities, and expansion of services into new industry sectors. The Governing Board recognizes the need to develop new leadership for the Society and encourages all members interested in serving in a leadership position to complete the AOCS Prospective Leadership Questionnaire.

To learn more about AOCS leadership positions and other volunteer opportunities, please email Barb Semeraro, or call her at +1 217-693-4804.

AOCS has your topic covered!
Learn more about all of our upcoming meetings.

AOCS Meeting Updates

AM15_Logo_90106th AOCS Annual Meeting and Industry Showcases | May 3–6, 2015 | Orlando, Florida, USA
Submit your abstract! Present your research to an engaged audience of your peers! The meeting will feature invited/volunteer oral and poster presentations. Review interest areas, submission guidelines, evaluation criteria, and submit.

Organize a Hot Topics Symposium! The Hot Topics Symposia will feature global discussions on new technologies, innovative research, regulation updates, and other current critical issues. Review guidelines and submit your session proposal today.

February 2, 2015: Final abstracts due
March 6, 2015: Final proposals due

Interested in participating in the Industry Showcases or becoming a Sponsor? Contact Christina Waugh, +1 217-693-4901.

Upcoming Industry Meetings
IndustryEventBtn-eNews2nd World Congress of Clinical Lipidology | December 5-7, 2014 | Austria
The congress will provide state of the art educational lectures in the field of clinical lipidology, focusing on practical lipid management including difficult to treat hyperlipidemias, genetic dyslipidemias, screening, dietary and nutraceutical approaches and case studies. Major emphasis will be given to new therapeutics, diagnosis and management of high risk patients. 

The International Soaps Detergents & Cosmetics Conference will focus on the rapidly evolving industries in Asia. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for national and international players to share views and resources on sustainability, the dynamic marketplace, emerging technologies and innovations, and environmental and regulatory issues.

The Congress and Lectureship Series will be held in November 2015, under the slogan "Evolution, innovation and challenges towards a sustainable future." The event will provide a forum in which attendees can exchange information and bring themselves up to date on the development of products, technologies, research, and experiences that are occurring at a global level in the field of fats and oils. 
  If you would like to receive the AOCS Newsletter and read it in full you may opt-in here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Detergents Ingredients Database (DID-list) Version 2014.1

The updated DID list 2014 (version 2014.1) has been published.

This new version is valid from October 2014 onwards and will be used for awarding EU Ecolabel products. The DID list covers environmental hazard data (biodegradation, acute and chronic toxicity) which are needed to calculate the so called critical dilution volume as one evaluation criteria for EU Ecolabel and Nordic Swan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Identification of Aromatic Fatty Acids in Butter Fat - FREE JAOCS paper of the month!

October's pick for JAOCS paper of the month comes from Senior Associate Editor Andrew Proctor of the University of Arkansas.

"Researchers led by Markus Schroder of the University of Hohenheim in Germany demonstrated the presence of 12 aromatic fatty acids in bovine milk, which constituted 0.15 milligrams per gram of milk fat and a dietary intake of about 5 milligrams per day," said Proctor.

This was determined by converting the fatty acids to fatty acid methyl esters and separation by urea complexing prior to analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and countercurrent chromatography. The aromatic acids, which were mostly saturated, ranged in size from 3-phenylproprionic acid to 13-phenyltridecanoic acid, with 10-phenyldecenoic acid being the only unsaturated species.

 "It was assumed that these aromatics were from rumen fermentation rather than feed," noted Proctor, "due to the scarcity of these compounds in the plant kingdom."

4-Phenylbutyric acid and 2-phenylacetic acid are reported to have antitumor properties, but it is not known whether such properties are specific to these compounds or common to all N-phenyl fatty acids.

The article is available for free download through Dec. 20, 2014.

Identification of Aromatic Fatty Acids in Butter Fat. Markus Schröder, Halima Abdurahman,Tanja Ruoff, Katja Lehnert, Walter Vetter. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. October 2014, Volume 91, Issue 10, pp 1695-1702.

Find Out More
Interested in publishing your work or serving as a reviewer and/ or editor for AOCS Press? Please contact Janet Brown AOCS Director, Content Development (

Students invited to learn beyond the classroom with a scholarship to the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo

The Nov. 24 deadline is fast approaching for science students interested in applying to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 19 – 22 in Fort Worth, Texas. Hosted by the National Biodiesel Board, students are invited to apply for a travel scholarship as well as to present their research. This opportunity comes through the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, an NBB program that aims to educate and collaborate with young scientists.

At this premier biodiesel event, students can attend conference sessions and network with top scientists in the field. They may also apply to present a poster on their biodiesel-related research or outreach during a poster session. Some will be invited to present during a breakout session.

“This opportunity allowed me to make contacts with NGSB members and biodiesel professionals that I would never have made otherwise,” said Colin Stewart, a student at the University of Colorado – Boulder who attended the event in 2014. “The conference opened my eyes to the biodiesel industry, its future, and how I can play a role in it.”

Last year, 16 students from nine universities received scholarships to attend the conference. The scholarships are funded by state soybean organizations and the United Soybean Board through the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the NGSB scholarship program and to apply, visit

Designs on the Future, Now. What will Shape Laundry Care in 2030 and Beyond?

Ian Bell of Euromonitor International, Inc. presented "Designs on the Future, Now. What Will Define our Market in 2030 and Beyond?? " during the AOCS–hosted World Conference on Fabric and Home Care (held October 6-9, 2014, in Montreux, Switzerland).

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend the conference, now is your chance to hear Ian Bell present "Designs on the Future, Now. What will Shape Laundry Care in 2030 and Beyond?" via a 40-minute webinar on Tuesday, 18 November 2014, 3:00 pm GMT.

Topics to be discussed include:
  • What changes are coming to the automated laundry process
  • Insight into consumer profiles in 2030 and beyond
  • How to use sustainability as a key force for development
Register   (

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Designs on the Future, Now. What will Shape Laundry Care in 2030 and Beyond?
2030 is a fairly arbitrary date to set in the context of gazing into the future. Much can change, but it is still possible to predict, with at least some degree of confidence, what will be shaping the world of laundry care come 2030.

While consideration of a futuristic “Star Trek” outlook for laundry practice, in which machines self-regulate, self-dose and communicate with their load for optimal washing performance, has its merits, this future will likely affect very few of us. In this case, the future is already here right now, just not evenly distributed.

Sustainability is another obvious consideration for the 2030 world, but so much has been written and spoken about the subject that another rehash of the subject is likely to bring up little that is new or insightful.

What is more interesting and dynamic is to look at how laundry care has grown rapidly through its emphasis on financial inclusion, knowingly or otherwise. The global market for laundry care has doubled in size since 2000, driven by a growing consumer base now found in developing markets. Can the industry really rely on its low entry point (financially speaking) to continue to drive future growth?

Stretching this idea of “inclusion” in the context of consumers, Designs on the Future looks to qualify how future sociodemographic shifts, the background against which laundry care sits, will define industry development in the long term. What will the rapid ageing of the world’s population as well as the evolving position of women in society mean for laundry practice and brands themselves?

Looking at process, while automation of laundry care, which has typified market development so far, will no doubt continue, can we really rely on the “magic washing machine” to deliver results time and again? The standing of the washing machine is changing and its influence on global laundry practice will, somewhat surprisingly, slacken over time – ignore hand washers at your peril.

Looking at textiles, how will demand for apparel shape consumers’ approach to laundry care and which supply trends will be most influential by 2030, will a Fair Trade-style movement really affect the way that consumers view clothing and laundry care? Is the current disposable view of apparel here to stay or will the Fair Trade/ethical movement be able to re-establish consumers’ attachment to apparel as an investment and a long-term purchase?

These and other future trends to be discussed in a 40-minute webinar, 18 November 2014, 3pm GMT

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If you would like to learn more about the World Conference on Fabric and Home Care series, contact Mindy Cain, Meetings Specialist, by phone (+1 217-693-4827) or email ( Plans are already in place for the next conference in the series, which will take place in Singapore, October 5-7, 2016, and program topics will be announced in 2015.