Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Drop In Trans Fat For Americans

A study that was published in the Feb 8, 2012’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association’ revealed that Americans consume less trans fat today than they did 10 years ago.

Trans fat (trans fatty acid) is created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid. It is also known as partially hydrogenated oil. It can be found in fried foods such as French fries and doughnuts, and baked foods including pastries, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings.

By studying the white adults in the United States between 2000 and 2009, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the average level of trans fatty acids of these participants dropped 58 percent.

This is certainly good news for Americans’ health because too much consumption of trans fat will raise the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or bad cholesterol) and lower the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or good cholesterol). In turn, the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and Type-2 diabetes would be higher. As suggested by the American Heart Association (AHA), the daily consumption of trans fat should not exceed more than 1 percent of the total daily calories.

While the researchers could not figure out the exact reason of the drop, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began in 2003 to require trans fat content to be listed on products’ nutrition labels. Moreover, manufacturers also began removing trans fat from their foods and educational information about the health risks of trans fat was increased too. All of these factors could have contributed to the decline.

As the study did not include other ethnic groups, the findings could not be generalized to the population as a whole. Further research is required to examine if there will be a drop in cholesterol levels occurred along with the decline in trans fat levels. Meanwhile, the researchers plan to analyze their data to better assess the effectiveness of public health measures in cutting down trans fat levels.

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