OBJECTIVE: To analyze the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated trans fatty acid intake among the general population. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, in 2003, on a representative sample of 2,298 male and female subjects, including 803 adolescents (12 to 19 years), 713 adults (20 to 59 years) and 782 elderly people (60 years or over). Food intake was measured using 24-hour recall. Mean trans fatty acid intake was described according to gender and age group. RESULTS: The mean trans fatty acid intake was 5.0 g/day (SE = 0.1), accounting for 2.4% (SE = 0.1) of total energy and 6.8% (SE = 0.1) of total lipids. The adolescents had the highest mean intake levels (7.4 g/day; 2.9% of energy) while the adults and the elderly had similar intake (2.2% of energy for both; 6.4% of lipids and 6.5% of lipids, respectively). The mean trans fatty acid intake among adult and elderly women (approximately 2.5% of energy and 7.0% of lipids) was higher than among men in the same age group. The food item with the highest contribution towards trans fatty acids was margarine, accounting for more than 30% of total intake, followed by filled cookies among adolescents and meat among adults and the elderly. CONCLUSIONS: The trans fatty acid intake is above the level recommended by the World Health Organization. Replacement of the trans fatty acids in manufactured food items may be an effective measure for reducing trans fatty acid intake in Brazil.
Dietary Fats; Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated; Trans Fatty Acids; Food Consumption; Diet Surveys; Cross-Sectional Studies; Population groups