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Government ban of trans fats may reduce coronary heart disease

Fitness advocates and health magazines have long cited trans fats as an evil that must be eliminated in any new diet resolutions. Now, it seems that officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have jumped on that bandwagon.

According to a recent statement, FDA officials have pledged to require food makers to gradually eliminate trans fats from their products. More specifically, the FDA will likely remove its safety approval rating of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Many baked goods contain hidden trans fats, such as crackers, cookies or pizza. 

Unfortunately, trans fats are particularly associated with coronary heart disease. They raise low-density lipoprotein levels, which is the bad type of cholesterol that can clog the inner walls of arteries supplying blood to the heart and brain. They also lower high-density lipoprotein, which is referred to as the good type of cholesterol because it may protect against heart attack. Notably, the damage from trans fats can result even from consuming small amounts. In fact, there might not be any safe minimum amount.

According to FDA data, the average American may consume 4.7 pounds of trans fat annually. FDA officials believe an estimated 20,000 heart attacks might be prevented each year by banning partially hydrogenated vegetables. Although not every heart attack is fatal, FDA officials hope that the ban will spare at least 7,000 deaths from heart attack each year.

In addition to sparing more lives, the ban may also impact the number of American workers applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits. Although accident or illness cannot always be avoided, removing trans fats from our diets may be a giant step in the direction of longer, healthier lives.

Source: nbcnews.com, “FDA moves to phase out trans fats from food, citing health concerns,” Linda Carroll, Nov. 7, 2013

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