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Trans Fat Bans May Have Cut Heart Attacks, Strokes

Pending FDA regulations should remove nearly all of this unhealthy substance from your diet, experts say

Could the contents of your cupcake affect your heart attack risk?

It seems so, according to a new study that found lower rates of heart attack and stroke in communities that restrict trans fats in foods.

Trans fats, which are found in products such as baked goods, chips, crackers and fried foods, have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In response, some U.S. cities have implemented policies to reduce trans fats in restaurant food.

“Our study highlights the power of public policy to impact the cardiovascular health of a population. Trans fats are deleterious for cardiovascular health, and minimizing or eliminating them from the diet can substantially reduce rates of heart attack and stroke,” said study author Dr. Eric Brandt. He’s a clinical fellow in cardiovascular medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

The researchers compared 2002-13 data from New York counties with and without restrictions on trans fats.

The study found a 6 percent decline in hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke in areas with trans fat restrictions compared to those without within three years of implementing no trans fat policies.

“It is a pretty substantial decline,” Brandt said.

Although the study found a link between trans fat restrictions and a lower heart attack and stroke risk, it’s important to note that the study wasn’t designed to prove a direct cause-and-effect link.

In 2018, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban on partially hydrogenated oil in foods will nearly eliminate dietary trans fats nationwide.

The study findings suggest that the FDA’s move to restrict trans fats in all foods will have widespread benefits, according to Brandt.

“Even though some companies have reduced the amount of trans fat in food, current FDA labeling guidelines allow up to 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving to be labeled as 0 grams, leaving consumers to scour labels for hidden trans fats, usually labeled as partially hydrogenated oils,” Brandt explained in a Yale news release.
“With the upcoming FDA regulation, people need not be so vigilant. A nationwide trans fat ban is a win for the millions of people at risk for cardiovascular disease,” he said.

The study was published April 12 in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, April 12, 2017

 

By Robert Preidt       HealthDay Reporter
 
WEDNESDAY, April 12, 2017      HealthDay News       WebMD News from HealthDay
 
source: www.webmd.com
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Eight Ingredients You Never Want to See on Your Nutrition Label

By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding – Mens Health

The year was 1950, and The Magic 8-Ball had just arrived in stores. It looked like a toy, but it wasn’t. It was a future-telling device, powered by the unknown superpowers that lived inside its cheap plastic shell. Despite a bit of an attitude—”Don’t count on it,” “My reply is no”—it was a huge success. Americans, apparently, want to see their futures.

A few decades later, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act that, among other things, turned the 45,000 food products in the average supermarket into fortune-telling devices. Americans inexplicably yawned. I’m trying to change that. Why? The nutrition label can predict the future size of your pants and health care bills.

Unfortunately, these labels aren’t as clear and direct as the Magic 8-Ball. Consider the list of ingredients: The Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 3,000 additives, most of which you’ve never heard of. But the truth is, you don’t have to know them all. You just need to be able to parse out the bad stuff. Do that and you’ll have a pretty good idea how your future will shape up—whether you’ll end up overweight and unhealthy or turn out to be fit, happy, and energized.

While researching the new Eat This, Not That! 2013: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution, I identified 8 ingredients you never want to see on the nutrition label. Should you put down products that contain them? As the Magic 8-Ball would say: Signs point to yes.

1. BHA
This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical—the cancers all occurred in the rodents’ forestomachs, an organ that humans don’t have. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet.

2. Parabens
These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues.

3. Partially Hydrogenated Oil
I’ve harped on this before, but it bears repeating: Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up. The telltale sign that your snack is soiled with the stuff? Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat.


4. Sodium Nitrite
Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats’ pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic and erythorbic acids—essentially vitamin C—have been shown to decrease the risk, and most manufacturers now add one or both to their products, which has helped. Still, the best way to reduce risk is to limit your intake.

5. Caramel Coloring
This additive wouldn’t be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way—with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: They treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason to scrap soft drinks? They’re among The 20 Worst Drinks in America.

6. Castoreum
Castoreum is one of the many nebulous “natural ingredients” used to flavor food. Though it isn’t harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs, or anal scent glands. These glands produce potent secretions that help the animals mark their territory in the wild. In the food industry, however, 1,000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods—usually vanilla or raspberry flavored—with a distinctive, musky flavor.

7. Food Dyes
Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don’t contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. A Journal of Pediatrics study linked Yellow 5 to hyperactivity in children, Canadian researchers found Yellow 6 and Red 40 to be contaminated with known carcinogens, and Red 3 is known to cause tumors. The bottom line? Avoid artificial dyes as much as possible.

8. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer, is plant protein that has been chemically broken down into amino acids. One of these acids, glutamic acid, can release free glutamate. When this glutamate joins with free sodium in your body, they form monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions—headaches, nausea, and weakness, among others—in sensitive individuals. When MSG is added to products directly, the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose its inclusion on the ingredient statement. But when it occurs as a byproduct of hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go unrecognized.


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Trans fat ban proposal in U.S. may affect Canadians

Move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 heart-related deaths in U.S. CBC News      Posted: Nov 07, 2013      Last Updated: Nov 08, 2013  Canadians could benefit under a U.S. proposal to require the food industry to gradually phase out trans fats, says a consumer advocate who wants Health Canada to follow the FDA’s lead. 

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed banning artificial trans fat in processed food, saying the elimination could prevent  20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 heart-related deaths each year in the U.S.

Manufacturers use trans fats to extend shelf life. Consuming trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, the FDA says.

The U.S. regulator is proposing to make partially hydrogenated oils, the main dietary source of trans fats in processed foods, an additive that could not be used in food unless authorized.

“According to records we obtained, their [Health Canada’s] own scientists told them they could prevent 1,000 deaths a year and save between a quarter and almost half a billion dollars a year by making regulations to get trans fat out of the food supply,” Bill Jeffery, national co-ordinator for the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, said in an interview.

“We hope that this minister will now take the science seriously.”

Jeffery said it’s hard to say what the implications of the U.S. proposal will be for Canadians.

“It may be that U.S. food manufacturers [who] export to Canada will just export a safer product with less trans fat in it, or maybe they’ll see Canada as a market to dump their foods and maybe we’ll end up with more trans fat coming across the border.

The documents that Jeffery’s group obtained last year showed the federal government planned to limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to two per cent of the total fat content and all other foods to five per cent.

  The announcement was never made.

It seems like when Health Canada hears evidence from experts, including their own, “it helps them decide what not to do,” Jeffery said.

Food & Consumer Products  of Canada, which represents the food, beverage and consumer products industry, said it aware of the FDA proposal.

“Canada once had the highest levels of trans-fat consumption in the world,” Susan Abel, the group’s vice-president of safety and compliance, said in a statement to CBC News.

“Today, the majority of Canada’s food supply is trans-fat-free and Canadians have access to thousands of reformulated products. In fact, according to Health Canada’s own monitoring program, 80 per cent of the pre-packaged foods have reached the voluntary target reduction goals.”

“Health Canada is pleased with this progress and continues to encourage industry to reduce the trans fat levels in their foods as low as possible while not increasing saturated fats,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

After the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey on nutrient intakes, Health Canada said it will assess contributing factors to determine what may need to change.

The FDA said trans fats can still be found in some processed foods, such as:

  • Crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods.
  • Microwave popcorn products.
  • Frozen pizza.
  • Vegetable shortenings and stick margarines.
  • Coffee creamers.
  • Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls).
  • Ready-to-use frostings.

Canada’s limited approach to regulating synthetic trans fats has led to confusion, said Laurie Pinhorn, a nutritionist in the St John’s area. 

Foods that contain small amounts of partially hydrogenated oils, such as in some peanut butters, are often labelled as trans-fat free. Psychologically, products labelled trans-fat free gain a “halo effect,” and people think they can consume more, Pinhorn said.

During a 60-day public comment period, the FDA is seeking comments, such as how the move would impact small businesses.

Natural trans fats are found in meat and milk from ruminant animals.

With files from The Associated Press, CBC’s Melanie Glanz and Vik Adhopia

source: www.cbc.ca


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5 Natural Ways To Reduce Inflammation In Your Body

By Margaret Wertheim   May 3, 2013

Inflammation is associated with some of the worst health problems out there including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While acute inflammation is a helpful process for the body when you have an injury such as cutting your finger or spraining your ankle, chronic inflammation is detrimental. Here are some easy ways to adjust your diet to decrease inflammation and improve your overall health:

1. Make sure to get your omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, fish oil, and algae-based supplements along with DHA, has anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed and walnuts provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which does not have anti-inflammatory properties until it’s converted by your body to EPA and only a very small amount of ALA gets converted. To truly reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s best to consume EPA directly by eating fish, taking fish oil, or an algae-based EPA and DHA supplement.

2. Avoid omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats.

Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in the body through the production of inflammatory compounds. Most people eat way too many omega-6 fats, which you will find in corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils. Another type of pro-inflammatory fats are trans fats, found in any products with “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list. They are usually found in baked goods, shortening, and margarines.


3. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels, which may cause and exacerbate inflammation. In addition, sugar and refined carbs also contribute to weight gain and can make it more difficult to lose weight. Excess body fat is another major contributor to inflammation.

4. Eat antioxidant-rich foods.

Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can damage the cells of your body and create and contribute to chronic inflammation. Antioxidants are able to neutralize these free radicals to reduce inflammation. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E as well as the colorful pigments of fruits and vegetables.

5. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with several inflammatory and autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, though it’s specific role has not yet be elucidated. The two main sources of vitamin D are the sun and food. Many people, especially those who live further away from the equator, don’t get much sun exposure especially during the winter. When you aren’t making enough vitamin D in your skin from sun exposure, make sure to include food food sources of vitamin D like fish and egg yolks and foods that are fortified with vitamin D like almond or coconut milk.


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7 Food Ingredients That Are Destroying Your Mood

BY LINDSEY SMITH – AUGUST 9, 2013 

Food not only affects your waistline, but it can also affect how you think, act and feel emotionally. Many foods or food additives we consume can wreak major havoc on our nervous system, resulting in moodiness, fatigue, anxiety and even depression. The tiniest hidden traces of these mood-wrecking foods can leave you feeling down. Know what foods to look for to ensure your mood isn’t compromised.

White flour
The fact that white flour is bad for your health isn’t necessarily groundbreaking nutrition information. However, this powdery white substance also sneaks its way into foods like soups and salad dressing by acting as a thickening agent. Because of its empty calories and high blood glucose content, even a small amount can cause mood swings and hunger pains. 

Rule of thumb: If it’s white, don’t take a single bite. Instead, choose 100% whole grains or gluten-free options.

FD & C Red No. 40
This food dye is one of the most commonly used dyes. Its sole purpose is to make food colorful and enhance the flavor, and it’s hidden in everything from frosting and chips to sports drinks and fruit snacks. However, don’t let the bright color or tastes fool you: this additive is linked to hypersensitivity and ADHD among children and adults. 

Rule of thumb: Don’t be misled, stay away from RED. Ensure even your favorite organic snacks are free and clear of this harmful dye.

Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are processed oils that are used by manufacturers to extend the shelf life of products. Hydrogenated oils are also responsible for creating trans fat in foods. Trans fat is shown to increase cholesterol levels and increase weight since your body has to work extra hard to digest it. It can also cause brain fog and severe moodiness.  

Rule of thumb: The shorter the expiration date, the better for your weight. (And your happiness!) Opt for products that expire within a week or two. And always choose healthy oils like organic coconut oil or organic extra virgin olive oil.


Aspartame
Aspartame is an ingredient used to sweeten “sugar-free” products on the market. While you might think you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping the sugar, you might want to think twice. Aspartame is a chemical that has been shown to cause headaches, digestive issues and even seizures. 

Rule of thumb: If it says sugar free, it most likely means hazardous chemical concoction. Instead, sweeten foods with 100% raw cane sugar, coconut sugar or raw honey.

FD & C Yellow No. 5
Our bodies aren’t meant to process chemicals, and that certainly applies to this one. Yellow no. 5 is a food dye most commonly found in cookies, soft drinks and even gum. If a product contains high quantities of yellow food dye, it can give food or drinks a yellowish glow. This food dye has been linked to asthma, allergic reactions and mood disorders. 

Rule of thumb: If it contains yellow, say hell NO! Always take caution before eating foods or candies that are extremely colorful, as they’re more likely to contain food dyes.

Monosodium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is commonly used in packaged foods to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. Many products like chips, soups and frozen meals contain MSG. Consuming even small amounts of this ingredient can lead to light-headedness, nausea, feelings of anxiety and weakness. 

Rule of thumb: If it contains MSG, it’s no good to me! (or my body!) But be careful; the FDA doesn’t require MSG to be listed as an ingredient. Always choose products that are organic or labeled “MSG Free.”

Sugar
Sugar is hidden in almost every processed and packaged food, including chips, sauces, fruit juices, cereals and energy bars. Sugar is often disguised by one of its many names: dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, lactose and sucrose. Eating foods that are high in sugar can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, thyroid issues, depression and weight gain. 

Rule of thumb: When sugar is a main ingredient, opt for a sweet fruit as a supplement. If you really have a fix for something sweet, opt for a healthier version of your favorite treat.


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New York City fast food chains cut trans fat under regulations

By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK | Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:04pm EDT


(Reuters Health) – Fast-food patrons in New York City are eating far less unhealthy fat since restrictions on its use by restaurants were imposed four years ago, a report sponsored by the city said.


Trans fats, especially common in hydrogenated vegetable oils, have been linked to long-term heart disease risk.


The study, released on Monday, found the average meal went from containing nearly three grams of trans fat to just half a gram.


“It’s a small step forward,” said Alice Lichtenstein, a nutrition science researcher from Tufts University in Boston, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine bit.ly/MnBiCA.


“This is just trans fat. It doesn’t have any effect on calories. It doesn’t mean that you can eat as much of it as you want,” she told Reuters Health.


“We have to think about these changes within the context of the whole diet. This is one small change in the right direction. We need a whole lot more.”


In 2006, New York City passed regulations prohibiting restaurants from serving food that contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and has half a gram or more of trans fat per serving. Those restrictions went into effect in 2008.

To test the policy’s result, researchers briefly surveyed customers leaving 168 different fast-food restaurants, belonging to 11 popular chains, the year before and the year after the restrictions were first enforced.


Those chains included McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Yum Brands Inc restaurants KFC and Pizza Hut.


Based on receipts from 6,969 customers surveyed in 2007, the average fast-food meal purchased that year had 2.9 grams of trans fat. By 2009, that figure was 0.5 grams in a sample of 7,885 customers.


The number of meals without any trans fat increased from 32 percent of all purchases before the regulations to 59 percent afterward.


What’s more, there was no spike in the amount of saturated fat in fast-food meals during the study period – as some had feared – so the total amount of “bad” fats in the average purchase dropped substantially.


Trans fat is “fully replaceable with healthier oils, so we knew that was something that could be changed,” said Christine Curtis, from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who worked on the study.


“We were really pleased,” she told Reuters Health. The study “really demonstrates that local regulation can reduce exposure to trans fat.”


Curtis said the trans-fat regulation could end up leading to health benefits down the line. “It does have the potential to have a really big impact on cardiovascular disease risk,” she said.


(Editing by Christine Soares and Xavier Briand)

source: reuters


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Study: Eating Lots of Trans Fat May Lower Quality of Life

Higher Trans Fat Intake Linked to Lower Happiness, Well-Being

By Salynn Boyles
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Nov. 4, 2011 – Many people indulge far too often in trans-fat-heavy foods because it makes them feel good, even though they know these foods may not be good for their hearts and their waistlines.
But while that double cheeseburger or glazed doughnut might temporarily improve your mood, research from Spain suggests the feeling won’t last.
In a study published earlier this year, the Spanish research team found that people who ate the most trans fats also had the highest depression levels.
Now the researchers report that these people also had the lowest scores on tests designed to measure quality of life.
Trans Fats and Mental Health
Trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, are created in the lab in a process that adds hydrogen to liquid oils to make them more solid.
The fats are most commonly found in fried fast foods and heavily processed foods, such as commercially produced pastries, cookies, and crackers.
The newly published study was designed to determine if different types of dietary fats affected quality of life – a term that encompasses functional health, well-being, and happiness.
More than 8,400 participants in an ongoing nutrition study in Spain were included in the latest analysis.
All the study participants completed a 136-item food questionnaire when they entered the study.
Four years later they also completed a widely used health survey designed to assess quality of life.
Tran fats were the only dietary fats that showed a significant association with self-reported quality of life scores, lead researcher Christina Ruano of the University of Las Palmas de Gram Canaria in Las Palmas, Spain, tells WebMD.
Study participants whose diets contained the most trans fats were also the most likely to report characteristics associated with a poorer quality of life, including feeling tired or worn out, having a negative attitude about work and social life, and having negative beliefs about their future health.
The study was published online this week in Nutrition Journal.
‘Trans Fats Markers for Poor Diet’
The study participants were all college educated and the average daily intake of trans fats within the group was about half that of the Spanish population as a whole and one-fourth that of the average American.
“Because of this, we believe the association could be even more robust in other populations, where more trans fats are eaten,” Ruano says.
While the researchers attempted to take into account other factors that could influence quality of life, New York University professor of nutrition Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, says it is far from clear if trans fat intake has a direct impact on well-being.
“Trans fats are a marker for poor diets with lots of junk foods,” she tells WebMD in an email. “That has to be factored in.”
SOURCES: Ruano, C. Nutrition Journal, published online Nov. 3, 2011.Cristina Ruano, researcher, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain.Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Paulette Goddard Professor, department of nutrition, food studies, and public health, New York University.WebMD Health News: “Eating Trans Fats Linked to Depression.”