Monday, March 16, 2009

Good News About Trans Fat

You don’t usually see the words “Trans Fat” and “Good” in the same sentence. But, in this case, it really is about good news. The amount of trans fat in our food has declined by 50 percent since 2005 (Center for Science in the Public Interest). Both food manufacturers and chain restaurants are beginning to switch from the use of partially hydrogenated oil (the only source of artificial trans fat) to healthier oils. If we can eliminate trans fat from our food supply, we can save an estimated 50,000 lives per year.

In case anyone reading this blog isn’t familiar with trans fat or partially hydrogenated oil, artificial trans fat is more dangerous on a gram-for-gram basis than any other fat in food. Like saturated fat, it raises LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that promotes heart disease. But unlike saturated fat, it also lowers HDL, the "good" cholesterol that guards against heart disease.

As for trans fat bans in restaurants alone, we’re now at about 20 percent. That leaves 80 percent to go, and that’s a big number. The number we want to hit is “zero”—as in zero trans fat.

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