The Increasing Use of Interesterified Lipids in the Food Supply and Their Effects on Health Parameters

Ronald P. Mensink*, Thomas A. Sanders, David J. Baer, K. C. Hayes, Philip N. Howles, Alejandro Marangoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A variety of modified fats that provide different functionalities are used in processed foods to optimize product characteristics and nutrient composition. Partial hydrogenation results in the formation of trans FAs (TFAs) and was one of the most widely used modification processes of fats and oils. However, the negative effects of commercially produced TFAs on serum lipoproteins and risk for cardiovascular disease resulted in the Institute of Medicine and the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans both recommending that TFA intake be as low as possible. After its tentative 2013 determination that use of partially hydrogenated oils is not generally regarded as safe, the FDA released its final determination of the same in 2015. Many food technologists have turned to interesterified fat as a replacement. Interesterification rearranges FAs within and between a triglyceride molecule by use of either a chemical catalyst or an enzyme. Although there is clear utility of interesterified fats for retaining functional properties of food, the nutrition and health implications of long-term interesterified fat consumption are less well understood. The Technical Committee on Dietary Lipids of the North American Branch of the International Life Sciences Institute sponsored a workshop to discuss the health effects of interesterified fats, identify research needs, and outline considerations for the design of future studies. The consensus was that although interesterified fat production is a feasible and economically viable solution for replacing dietary TFAs, outstanding questions must be answered regarding the effects of interesterification on modifying certain aspects of lipid and glucose metabolism, inflammatory responses, hemostatic parameters, and satiety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-729
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • interesterified fats
  • dietary intake
  • metabolism
  • health effects
  • trans fatty acids


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