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Nutrition

Trans Fatty Acids a Hidden Killer

21 years, 4 months ago

9709  0
Posted on Oct 10, 2002, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Kathleen M. Koehler of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that thousands of people could be spared heart attacks each year if food manufacturers reduced use of trans fatty acids, a by-product of hydrogenation (a technique that solidifies liquid oils for use in processed foods), which has been implicated in causing buildup of cholesterol in arteries.

Kathleen M. Koehler of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that thousands of people could be spared heart attacks each year if food manufacturers reduced use of trans fatty acids, a by-product of hydrogenation (a technique that solidifies liquid oils for use in processed foods), which has been implicated in causing buildup of cholesterol in arteries. Koehler says removing trans fatty acids from all margarine would prevent approximately 6,300 heart attacks each year, including 2,100 deaths. Removing trans fatty acids from 3 percent of breads and cakes and 15 percent of cookies and crackers would prevent 17,100 heart attacks, including 5,600 deaths. In November 1999, tfhe FDA proposed that nutrition labels on food products include the trans fat content, a move htat Koehler strongly encourages. She estimates reducing trans fat consumption would save $25 billion to $59 billion in health-care costs over 20 years, whereas the costs to change food labels and reformulate foods to carry less trans fat would cost $401 million to $854 million.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: American Heart Association dietary conference on fatty acids, June 4, 2000

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