A new study refutes health concerns about trans fats of beef, lamb, and other ruminants, even finding some evidence of a protective effect against heart attacks.
This is good news, and I wish I had heard about it earlier because I love grilled leg of lamb, and especially those brown crispy fatty crusts that are so delicious. I never could resist eating them, despite all warnings about animal fats in general and trans fats in particular. But my health concerns were strong enough to throw away quantities of rendered lamb fat that could have been used in the kitchen. Too bad.
The study about intake of ruminant trans fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease has been done at the Research Unit for Dietary studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. More than three thousand Danes with healthy hearts have been surveyed and followed up eighteen years, looking at newly developing coronary heart diseases and linking them to dietary habits. In men, no link between heart disease and trans fatties from beef, lamb and other ruminants has been found. In women, those with a high intake of ruminant trans fatties even had a lower risk of heart disease. The study does not go so far to conclude a protective effect for women, but it does not rule it out either.
Complete verdict of not guilty
Ruminant trans fatties are neither reason for heart nor for cancer concerns. The latter is a conclusion of the big food and cancer report, stating that "any effect of trans fatty acids specifically on the risk of any cancer is not known".
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/68188294@N00/328726202/