British Journal of Nutrition

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

A cross-sectional study on trans-fatty acids and risk markers of CHD among middle-aged men representing a broad range of BMI

Birgit M. Nielsena1 c1, Marie M. Nielsena1, Marianne U. Jakobsena2, Carina J. Nielsena1, Claus Holsta1, Thomas M. Larsena3, Nathalie T. Bendsena3, Anette Bysteda4, Torben Letha4, David M. Hougaarda5, Kristin Skogstranda5, Arne Astrupa3, Thorkild I. A. Sørensena1 and Tine Jessa1

a1 Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospitals, Copenhagen Capital Region, Øster Søgade 18, DK-1357 Copenhagen K, Denmark

a2 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

a3 Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

a4 Division of Food Chemistry, The National Food Institute (DTU Food), Technical University of Denmark, DK-2860 Søborg V, Denmark

a5 Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen S, Denmark


Intake of trans-fatty acids (TFA), especially industrially produced TFA (I-TFA), has been associated with the risk of CHD through influence on serum lipid levels. Other causal pathways remain less investigated. In the present cross-sectional study of middle-aged men representing a broad range of BMI, the association between intake of TFA, I-TFA and ruminant TFA (R-TFA) and obesity-associated risk markers of CHD was assessed. The study comprised 393 Danish men (median age 49 years) with a median BMI of 28·4 kg/m2. Intake of TFA was estimated based on 7 d dietary records, whereas outcomes of interest (waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter, percentage of truncal fat, C-reactive protein, IL-6, blood lipids, blood pressure, HbA1c and insulin sensitivity index) were obtained through clinical examination. The associations were assessed by linear regression analysis. The median intake of total TFA among the 393 men was 1·3 g/d, covering a daily I-TFA intake of 0·4 g (10–90th percentile 0·0–1·0) and R-TFA intake of 0·9 g (10–90th percentile 0·4–1·8). Intake of these amounts of TFA showed no significant associations with abdominal fatness, inflammatory markers, blood lipids, blood pressure and insulin homeostasis. Among middle-aged men with a generally low intake of TFA, neither I-TFA nor R-TFA was significantly related to obesity-associated risk markers of CHD. The decreased average intake of I-TFA in Denmark since 1995 is suggested to effectively prevent occurrence of the adverse metabolic changes and health consequences, which have formerly been observed in relation to, especially, I-TFA intake.

(Received August 29 2010)

(Revised January 17 2011)

(Accepted February 19 2011)

(Online publication May 18 2011)

Key Words:

  • Trans-fatty acids;
  • CHD;
  • Abdominal obesity;
  • Inflammation;
  • Blood lipids;
  • Insulin sensitivity


c1 Corresponding author: B. M. Nielsen, fax +45 33 32 42 40, email


† B. M. Nielsen and M. M. Nielsen are contributed equally to the study.

Abbreviations: I-TFA, industrially produced trans-fatty acids; OGTT, oral glucose tolerance test; R-TFA, ruminant trans-fatty acids; TFA, trans-fatty acids; WC, waist circumference