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Trans Fats Bans May Save Your Life

October 28, 2006 | 5,367 views
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Citing growing evidence that trans fats are contributing to heart attacks, health officials in New York and Chicago want restaurants to remove trans fats from their menu offerings.

Trans fats raise "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, while simultaneously lowering "good" (HDL) cholesterol.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has stated that the optimal intake of trans fats is zero. Trans fats have already been de facto banned in Denmark, and Canada may soon do so as well.

Leading nutrition researchers estimate that if trans fats were removed from the American diet, as many as 228,000 heart attacks could be prevented each year. As much as one-third to one-half of trans fats consumption takes place in restaurants.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This article from the New York Times about bans on trans fats popping up throughout the nation couldn't have come at a better time, as it serves as a welcome postscript to a piece I wrote not long ago about restaurants, a home away from home for so many consumers.

There is an enormous amount of confusion distinguishing between saturated fat and trans fat. I attempted to address this in my comment on Tuesday. Essentially, many health professionals have not carefully differentiated saturated fat from trans fat in the studies that implicate saturated fat.

Had this distinction been performed they would have likely not vilified saturated fat and found the real culprit was trans fat.

Trans fat is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. It is found in many foods, including fried foods like french fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.

In the United States, typical french fries have about 40 percent trans fatty acids and many popular cookies and crackers range from 30 percent to 50 percent trans fatty acids. Doughnuts have about 35 percent to 40 percent trans fatty acids.

Trans fats can cause major clogging of arteries, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, and have been found to increase the risk of heart disease. Many food companies use trans fat instead of oil because it reduces cost, extends storage life of products and can improve flavor and texture.

Although there's no argument about how much trans fats can harm your health, there's been considerable debate among conventional health experts whether they should be banned altogether.

The mere fact that there's even a debate about trans fats is crazy, considering their removal would likely prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks each year in America alone. A ban on trans fats just in New York City could prevent an estimated 500 deaths a year.

And a trans fat ban, according to Harvard's Dr. Walter Willett, would be a perfect non-drug solution for regulating cholesterol that works as well as a mild statin.

Another means to improve your HDL cholesterol without the need for a worthless statin drug: Getting your regular dose of omega-3 fats from a high-quality fish or krill oil daily.

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