Oxidized fats in foods

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Lipid oxidation is the cause of important deteriorative changes in chemical, sensory and nutritional food properties. In particular, the question of whether oxidized fats in the diet may be detrimental to health is nowadays of the upmost concern, but finding an answer is not easy and requires careful consideration of different aspects of lipid oxidation.

Recent findings

In this review, the most recent works on the formation, nature and evaluation of oxidized dietary lipids are addressed; important issues such as the difficulties encountered in estimating their intake and the relationships between oxidants and antioxidants in the diet are discussed, and the latest studies on health implications of oxidized lipids are summarized.

Summary

The current literature reflects various important points. At present, there is no information on the intake of oxidized fats, which is essential to know if the amount of oxidized lipids in normal diets is sufficient to cause the physiological effects claimed. Recently, relevant advances in analytical methodologies for quantitation of specific oxidation compounds have been reported, although their application to improve the analytical definition of the oxidized substrate used in nutritional studies is still a goal to be reached. Alternatively, one of the most promising current tendencies in this field is the study of the molecular targets by which dietary oxidized lipids can influence health. Overall, more selected research based on coordinated multidisciplinary studies is needed to define the role of dietary oxidized fats in health.

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