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Trans-Fatty Acid Levels in White Adults

Eric Brandt, BS
JAMA. 2012;307(22):2370-2371. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.5146.
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To the Editor: Dr Vesper and colleagues1 found that levels of plasma trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in a nationally representative sample of white adults studied in 2009 were lower than in a sample studied in 2000, which may be related to the US Food and Drug Administration's requirements for TFA labeling in 2003. Some data in the study and their possible implications warrant further discussion.

The authors found a similar decrease in all 4 TFAs studied. Various TFA-containing foods have profiles with specific TFA content. For example, ruminant TFAs, derived mostly from dairy products, are primarily vaccenic acid and cis-9,trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (C9,T11-CLA), while TFAs from industrial sources are mostly elaidic acid.2,3 Only 13% to 17% of vaccenic acid intake comes from hydrogenated plant oils.3 If the change in TFAs observed in the study is attributed solely to 2003 legislative changes, one would expect to have found decreases in all TFAs but with less alteration to vaccenic acid.

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June 13, 2012
Hubert W. Vesper, PhD; James L. Pirkle, MD, PhD
JAMA. 2012;307(22):2370-2371. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.5148.
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