Association between trans fatty acid intake and cardiovascular risk factors in Europe: the TRANSFAIR study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Feb;54(2):126-35. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600906.


Background: High intakes of trans fatty acids (TFA) have been found to exert an undesirable effect on serum lipid profiles, and thus may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Objectives: Investigation of the association between TFA intake and serum lipids.

Design: Cross-sectional study in eight European countries (Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) among 327 men and 299 women (50-65 y). Using a dietary history method, food consumption was assessed and TFA intake was calculated with recent figures on TFA levels of foods, collected in the TRANSFAIR study.

Results: Mean (+/-s.d.) TFA intake was 2.40+/-1.53 g/day for men and 1.98+/-1.49 g/day for women (0.87+/-0.48% and 0. 95+/-0.55% of energy, respectively), with the highest consumption in Iceland and the lowest in the Mediterranean countries. No associations were found between total TFA intake and LDL, HDL or LDL/HDL ratio after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. Additional adjustment for other fatty acid clusters resulted in a significant inverse trend between total TFA intake and total cholesterol (Ptrend<0.03). The most abundantly occurring TFA isomer, C18:1 t, contributed substantially to this inverse association. The TFA isomers C14:1 t9, C16:1 t9 and C22:1 t were not associated or were positively associated with LDL or total cholesterol.

Conclusions: From this study we conclude that at the current European intake levels of trans fatty acids they are not associated with an unfavourable serum lipid profile.

Sponsorship: Unilever Research Laboratorium, the Dutch Dairy Foundation on Nutrition and Health, Cargill BV, the Institute of Food Research Norwich Laboratory, the Nutrition Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the International Fishmeal and Oil Manufacturers' Association, Kraft Foods, NV Vandemoortele Coordination Center, Danone Group, McDonalds Deutschland Inc, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, Valio Ltd, Raisio Group. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) 54, 126-135

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Europe
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Linear Models
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Cholesterol