The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Does dairy contain trans fats?

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Yes, milk and dairy products naturally contain some ‘ruminant’ trans fat – less than 2% of the total fat energy health authorities suggest should form part of the diet. Research has shown that there is no significant association between dietary intake of ruminant trans fat and an increased risk of heart disease.

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Yes, milk and dairy products naturally contain some trans fat. This type of trans fat is called ruminant trans fat, because it is produced naturally by bacteria in the gut of ruminant animals such as cows and sheep. The trans fat content of cow’s milk typically represents less than 2% of the total fat energy health authorities suggest should form part of the diet.

In contrast, processed foods such as hard margarine, lard, fast foods, commercially deep-fried foods and baked goods may contain industrially produced trans fat. A high intake of trans fat has long been known to have a negative effect on heart health. However, numerous recent studies have shown that there is no significant association between dietary intake of ruminant trans fat and an increased risk of heart disease.

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