Trans-Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Urgent Need for Legislation

Cardiology. 2017;138(4):254-258. doi: 10.1159/000479956. Epub 2017 Sep 26.


Hydrogenated oils containing trans-fatty acids (TFA) are used to produce margarine and various processed foods. TFA affect serum lipid levels, fatty acid metabolism, and endothelial function. High TFA intake is linked to increased all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease mortality, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence. Denmark was the first country to introduce a law that limited TFA content in food; this action led to lower CVD mortality. So far 7 European countries have followed this practice, in a few others the food industry voluntarily reduced TFA use. The issue remains mostly unaddressed in the rest of the world. Legal TFA limits should be commonly established as they are the optimal solution considering both CVD prevention and the associated cost savings in public healthcare.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Nutrition policy; Trans-fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Europe
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Risk Factors
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Trans Fatty Acids / physiology


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Plant Oils
  • Trans Fatty Acids