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By Kantha Shelke, Ingredients Editor | 05/26/2005
NOTE TO PROCUREMENT
Be wary about the switch. Get R&D to critically evaluate and compare the fatty acid profiles of all of the fat choices. Get them to look for other healthy benefits, such as omega-3 fatty acid content and phytosterols. Compare the ounce-for-ounce cost of the trans-free alternatives with the partially hydrogenated incumbent. Recognize that cost is a complex matter and involves formulation and manufacturing elements, but realize the removal of trans fatty acids is necessary.
If the new oils carry a hefty price tag for high stability, make sure your product requires that level of stability before you spend. High-stability oils (and their high price) may not be necessary if your product is frozen or does not require extended shelf life. Consider alternative packaging to improve shelf life instead.
There may not be a need to spend excessive amounts on nutritional analysis. Rely on supplier specification sheets to build the nutritional profile of your finished product – but ensure they have used approved methods of analysis (AOAC 996.06 or other approved method).
Talk to your plant operations people, too. Determine the impact on production facilities, including the need for special equipment to store and handle quantities of oil, which previously was a semi-solid shortening in your system. Clarify if the storage and processing conditions can affect heat and shelf life stability.
|GOOD TRANS FATS
There are many kinds of trans fatty acids and they are not all the same. Not all are bad for health. In fact, two have been identified to be beneficial for human health.
Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, is probably the most common fatty acid in our foods. When partially hydrogenated to produce spreadable margarine, oleic acid is converted into a trans form called elaidic acid (9-trans-octadecenoic acid), the predominant trans fat acid produced by commercial hydrogenation. Ruminants create another form of trans fat, vaccenic acid (11-trans-octadecenoic acid) as a result of the hydrogenation of oleic acid by intestinal bacteria.
Conjugated linoleic acid, popularly referred to as CLA (cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid), has beneficial effects. Found in greatest amounts in dairy products, CLA may also be formed in the body by the conversion of vaccenic acid. Cornell researcher Adam Lock identified these two trans fatty acids as potent inhibitors of cancers such as breast cancer. Preliminary studies show CLA may benefit atherosclerosis and osteoporosis, help reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and may improve the immune response.
Dairy fat contains very small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. For example, 8 oz. of whole milk or 1 oz. of cheddar cheese each contains 300 mg (0.3 g) of trans fat -- in contrast to a donut, which may contain 10 times as much (3,000 mg) of trans fat.
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