(Natural News) A new study reportedly validates the health risks posed by trans fats. Trans fatty acids (TFAs), otherwise known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a lot of packaged or processed food, and is meant to improve taste and expand shelf life.
Commercial food manufacturers create trans fat through an industrial process that combines liquid vegetable oil and adds hydrogen to it, thereby making a product that becomes a solid at room temperature. The process utilizes soybean, cottonseed, or canola oil heated to very high temperatures.
Trans fats have been widely used for almost 60 years. Foods that contain trans fats include many guilty pleasures such as fried or battered foods; baked goods such as crackers, cookies, cakes, pies; snack foods, margarine, coffee creamers, refrigerated dough products, and ready-to-use frosting, along with vegetable shortening. Although it has been in use for years, and is present in many products, trans fat has been linked to heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and systemic inflammation.
As the saying goes, it probably sounded like a good idea at the time.
In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that processed food manufacturers must phase out the use of trans fat by June 2018. At the same time, the agency removed trans fat from the list of foods that are generally recognized as safe. The GRAS classification is considered the green light for the processed food industry, as it enables manufacturers to use additives indiscriminately without having to first consult the FDA for approval.
Check the food labels carefully because current FDA regulations allow food makers some wiggle room or creative bookkeeping: They can legally claim a product contains 0 grams of trans fat per serving even it actually contains up to 0.5 grams per serving. This means that if you ingest multiple servings as most people do, your inadvertent consumption of trans fat can add up quickly. Even a small amount can equal a significant intake, the FDA itself conceded.
Some, but not all, manufacturers have already started to reduce or eliminate their reliance on trans fat, but again, take a close look at the label, just to be safe.
That being said, the FDA is late to the party when it comes to trans fat. Natural News has been warning readers that trans fat is a major contributor to heart disease for 10-plus years. (RELATED: Read more about toxic ingredients at Natural News Ingredients.)
The above-mentioned study, which targeted 11 New York counties that banned trans fat and 25 counties that didn’t, indicates that there appears to be a connection between the ban and cardiovascular health. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Yale University determined that fewer heart attacks and strokes occurred in the counties with trans-fat restrictions in the 2002-2013 time frame as compared with residents of those counties without them. Based on hospital admissions records and other data, the differential was 6.2 percent starting at least three years after the implementation of the restrictions. Lead author Eric Brandt, a Yale School of Medicine cardiologist, remarked that it was “a pretty substantial decline.”
Apparently, the study did not extend to food purchased at supermarkets, however, which would suggest that the geographical comparison insofar as heart conditions could have even been more revealing.
Cardiologist Tamar S. Polonsky, one of the University of Chicago medical research team members, noted that “The results are impressive, given that the study focused on trans fatty acid bans in restaurants, as opposed to complete bans that included food bought in stores. If we enact a more complete restriction on trans fatty acids, it could mean even more widespread benefits for people long term.”
The findings, which appear on the JAMA Cardiology webpage, conclude that “Restrictions on trans-fatty acid consumption are associated with a decrease in hospitalization for cardiovascular events.”