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Trans fatty acids

Trans fatty acids are public health hazard, says author of "Poison in the Food"

Monday, October 02, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oils, trans fats


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(NewsTarget) While some critics are denouncing New York City's proposal to almost completely ban dangerous trans fat from its restaurants, Natural health advocate Mike Adams, author of "Poison In the Food: Hydrogenated Oils," is publicly stating his support for the plan.

"NYC has every right to protect its people from this artificial food adulteration that promotes birth defects, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease and cancer," said Adams.

Trans fats appear in the body when people consume fats that have been hardened to a butter-like state using hydrogenization. The oils are responsible for giving some fried foods their "crunchy" texture, but they are also responsible for a number of health issues, including raising LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering HDL (good) cholesterol.

On Tuesday, the New York City Board of Health put forward the proposal for a near-total ban on artificial trans fats in area restaurants, giving them six months to switch to oils, margarines and shortening that contains less than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving, and 18 months to bring all other food to the same level. A public hearing will be held on Oct. 30 before the proposal will be approved or denied, and during that time the plan will have to withstand fire from harsh critics such as Charles Hunt of the New York State Restaurant Association.

"We're going try to get into a dialogue with the Health Department where perhaps we can convince them to modify their proposal where it's not a broad-brush, one-size-fits-all, Orwellian regulation," he said.

Many health experts, however, feel the proposal is a positive step toward bettering public health.

"This is a very appropriate for a city health department that is responsible for food safety in restaurants," said Walter Willett, a leading U.S. nutritionist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Clearly trans fats are causing large numbers of premature deaths and disability. Restaurants are really the primary source of trans fats for most people, so we've calculated that this could really prevent thousands of deaths per year, just in the New York area."

Willett added that the FDA should implement a nationwide plan to mirror New York's initiative. Trans fats are most prevalent in fast food restaurants, but some -- including Wendy's and Dunkin' Donuts -- are already moving toward compliance with such an idea.

"This is an ingredient the World Health Organization urged member nations to ban more than three decades ago," Adams said. "Yet the food industry, with utter disregard for human health and safety, continues to use political influence to keep hydrogenated oils in the food supply, regardless of the considerable science showing how harmful they are to the health of consumers."

"Poison in the Food," Adams said, is a resource for readers who want to know what dangers they are facing when they consume everyday foods, and how they can avoid these harmful ingredients. Readers can also learn how a 2 percent increase in trans fat in the diet can contribute to a 39 percent increase in type 2 diabetes risk; the link between hydrogenated oils and cancer, birth defects, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and more; how avoiding the oils will dramatically improve brain function; and, perhaps most shockingly, how and why Big Business has used its vast resources to keep this ingredient legal and its dangers secret.

"The food industry is a lot like the Big Tobacco," Adams said. "They just want to sell more products, regardless of the health consequences, and even when the science reveals their products to be harmful, they will fight the science, lobby the lawmakers, and deny reality for as long as they can get away with it."

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