Fatty Acid Composition Including Trans-Fatty Acids in Edible Oils and Fats: Probable Intake in Indian Population



Abstract:  The susceptibility of trans-fat to the human health risk prompted the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to prepare regulations or compulsory claims for trans-fatty acids (TFA) in edible oils and fats. In this study, analysis of fatty acid composition and TFA content in edible oils and fats along with the possible intake of trans-fat in Indian population was carried out. The analysis was carried out as per the Assn. of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) methodology and the results were statistically analyzed. The average TFA content in nonrefined mustard and refined soybean oils exceeded by 1.16- to 1.64-fold as compared to the Denmark limit of 2% TFA in fats and oils destined for human consumption. In branded/nonbranded butter and butter oil samples, average TFA limit exceeded by 4.2- to 9.5-fold whereas hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) samples exceeded the limit by 9.8-fold, when compared to Denmark standards. The probable TFA intake per day through different oils in Indian population were found to be less than WHO recommendation. However Punjab having highest consumption of HVO (–15 g/d) showed 1.09-fold higher TFA intake than the WHO recommendation, which is alarming and may be one of the factors for high cardiovascular disease mortality rate that needs further elucidation. Thus there is a need to prescribe TFA limit for edible oil, butter, and butter oil in India and to reduce the already proposed TFA levels in HVO to safeguard the health of consumers.

Practical Application:  The probable daily intake of trans-fatty acid (TFA) especially through hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) was assessed. In absence of any specification for TFA and fatty acid composition for edible oils, butter, and butter samples, a pressing need was felt to prescribe TFA limit in India. The study indicates that TFA intake through HVO consumption is higher in States like Punjab than the recommended daily intake prescribed by WHO. Hence, strategies should be adopted to either decrease the consumption of HVO or to modify the industrial processing method of HVO with less content of TFA to safeguard the health of consumers.