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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   Low Carb Connoisseur
    October 2004    Page 4B       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Make it Low Carb
 Sweet Comfort Foods
 Cookin' with Pumpkins!
 The Trouble with Trans Fats
 Here's What's New!
 Got Umami?
 Measuring Success
 Industry Interview
 Appetite or Cravings?
 Makeup Tips for Halloween
 Halloween without the Sugar
 DC Report: CAC Conference
 The Carb Credit Card
 Waiting for the Woosh Fairy



        The Trouble With Trans Fats: Our Expert Panel Weighs In: Page 2

From Joy Pape, RN BSN CDE WOCN
Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator

I'm glad the general public is being made more aware of the dangers of trans fats and that soon, they will have to be listed on the nutrition labels. I'm sorry it will take so long, but then it's hard to believe they haven't been listed all these years. Talk about truth in labeling!

There is a strong link between diabetes and heart disease. Studies indicate that trans fats may increase the risk of diabetes. I agree with the researchers who recommend decreasing the use of trans fats and instead, replacing them with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as Omega 3s. They report this can decrease the risk of diabetes (and therefore heart disease) by as much as 40%.

The Nurses Health Study showed that women who consumed the greatest amount of trans fat in their diet had a 50% higher risk of heart attack, compared to women who ate the least amount of trans fat.

Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoprotein A, (the "bad cholesterols") and decrease HDL cholesterol, (the "good cholesterol.") Many people who have diabetes have increased LDLs, triglycerides, lipoprotein A, and a low HDL. Why in the heck would they want to ingest something that would only make matters worse when they can make smarter health choices? ?if they only knew.

I can't argue with The Institute of Medicine (IOM) who consider no amount of trans fats safe. My recommendation? Read labels and avoid foods with trans fats (hydrogenation.) Keep all foods in your house trans fat free. Don't freak out if you find you've been served a food containing trans fats at a meal out. But once you know better, don't make a habit of it.

From Gil Wilshire, M.D., FACOG
Reproductive Endocrinologist
President and Chief Scientific Officer,
Carbohydrate Awareness Council.

Trans-Fats and Health

To my knowledge, no one has ever performed a study where humans were purposely given lots of trans-fats, created a matched group of similar people who consumed very few of them (and were otherwise the same), and then followed the two groups for enough years to see who died first. This is a fancy way of saying that we have no "gold standard" of evidence against dietary trans-fats: a randomized, prospective, controlled human clinical trial.

In the absence of these data, we do have a large amount of information showing: 1) a strong association between trans-fats and disease, and 2) plausible metabolic and biochemical pathways that make a logical connection between the two.

There are at least five population-based studies that have shown a strong association between increased trans-fat consumption and a variety of diseases. In addition, basic scientific investigation of the metabolic pathways taken by trans-fats as they wind their way through the body has clearly shown many ways in which these molecules "gum up the works." More specifically, these fats have harmful effects on the cholesterol-carrying particles in the blood, and they have adverse effects on the signals of inflammation. Inflammatory pathways probably contribute to blood vessel damage and cancer activation.

In summary, I would like to quote Drs. Ascherio and Willet from their article:
(Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Oct; 66 (4 Suppl): 1006S-1010S):

"... a series of metabolic studies has provided unequivocal evidence that trans fatty acids increase plasma concentrations of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and reduce concentrations of high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol relative to the parent natural fat. In these same studies, trans fatty acids increased the plasma ratio of total to HDL cholesterol nearly twofold compared with saturated fats. On the basis of these metabolic effects and the known relation of blood lipid concentrations to risk of coronary artery disease, we estimate conservatively that 30,000 premature deaths/y in the United States are attributable to consumption of trans fatty acids. Epidemiologic studies, although not conclusive on their own, are consistent with adverse effects of this magnitude or even larger. Because there are no known nutritional benefits of trans fatty acids and clear adverse metabolic consequences exist, prudent public policy would dictate that their consumption be minimized and that information on the trans fatty acid content of foods be available to consumers."

I could not say it better.

From Mark Uhrmacher
VP of Sales & Marketing
Expert Foods, Inc.

The medical community is nearly uniform in its condemnation of trans fats as unhealthy for a variety of reasons. So, why do people use them? Basically, they make manufacturing easier. Trans fats are engineered to have precise melting points making them much, much better for automating a process than other types of fats/oils. Using this property many companies have developed large-scale production processes that yield the tasty, cheap products Americans love to eat. Removing these ingredients requires a significant change in processing which costs money for development AND a higher production cost thereafter. Many companies don?t really want to make the change but fear having significant trans fats on their nutrition labels as the regulations change.

Honestly, I think removing trans fats will increase the cost of the items that rely upon them for current production but will yield a healthier, better end product.

From Daniel Maiullo
Fmr VP Keto Foods / Corporate Counsel

Saturated fats are "saturated" with hydrogen. That is, they have taken up all they can hold. These fats are solid at room temperature and are more physically stable and generally easier to work with in baked goods. Vegetable oils are made more like saturated fats by "hydrogenation", a process of chemically adding hydrogen to liquid fat (oil) in the presence of a catalyst. The degree of hydrogenation determines the physical and chemical properties of the final product. A fat that is partially hydrogenated still contains a significant amount of double bonds in its molecules, thereby rendering it more susceptible to oxidative damage. Partial hydrogenation also results in many cis bonds being converted to trans bonds. This is why when you see "partially hydrogenated" oils on a food label, you can bet that it contains a significant amount of trans fat and should be avoided.

Copyright © October 2004  Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury


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