A future without trans-fats

18 January 2007

A healthier alternative to artery clogging trans fats has been developed by Canadian food scientists.

The news is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Soft Matter.

Trans fats are found in many fried foods, and consist of solid, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used to structure liquid oils within them. 

These fats extend the shelf life of food but have no nutritional value - thus cutting them out of the diet can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Many fast food chains have reduced or made commitments to reduce levels of trans fats in their products, in light of the bad publicity given to these types of fats.

Professor Alejandro Marangoni and a team at the University of Guelph, Canada, have now come up with a healthier trans-fat free method for converting oils to solid fat like materials. 

They mimicked the structure of the trans fats by encapsulating liquid oils within monoglyceride in water - creating an "oil gel."

Spreading margarine on toast

Prof Marangoni said: "Human trials have shown that this oil structuring results in a controlled release of the lipids into the blood.

"This lowers the levels of free fatty acids and insulin following a meal."

He added: "Obesity has reached epidemic proportions throughout the world, and limiting energy intake from fats can decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

"Our oil gel could be a viable alternative to traditional fats used in food manufacturing."

Prof Marangoni added that spreads and icings were examples of foods that contain high levels of trans fats which could be revolutionised by the new oil gel.

with thanks to Michael Spencelayh for the original article


Oil Microencapsulation Attenuates Acute Elevation of Blood Lipids and Insulin in Humans  A G Marangoni, S H J Idziak, C Vega, H Batte, M Ollivon, P S Jantzi and J W E Rush, Soft Matter, 2007 DOI: 10.1039/b611985a

A trans-fat-free future

A healthier alternative to artery-clogging trans fats has been developed by food scientists.

Contact and Further Information

Press Office
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA