Trans fats don’t seem to affect blood sugar

Although much-criticised trans fats raise levels of “bad” cholesterol, they do not appear to have a lasting impact on blood sugar levels, a United States study has found.

Researchers found that blood sugar and insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check, were similar regardless of how much trans fat people ate.

The link between trans fats and high cholesterol levels is widely accepted, but there has been a lack of clarity on the effect on blood sugar control, which is involved in diabetes, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports.

“Although evidence from cohort studies has suggested that trans fatty acid (TFA) consumption may be associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, randomised placebo-controlled trials have yielded conflicting results,” says lead researcher Christos Mantzoros, of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Trans fats are found in animal products and chemically processed vegetable oils.

In response to studies linking high consumption of the substances to an increased risk of heart disease, the US Food and Drug Administration has required food makers to disclose trans fats on nutrition labels.

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