For decades, it was believed that saturated fat (the fat found in animal products) was the villain of the food world. It was blamed for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, high cholesterol, and a host of other health problems.
Thankfully, since 2010, the truth has come out: saturated fat is actually good for our health, thanks to its cell-building, hormone-producing, fat-burning properties. The spotlight on the villainous foods has shifted to two major food types: sugars and trans fats.
Sugar is responsible for most of the health problems mentioned above, as it encourages the storage of fat, slows metabolism, raises glucose and insulin levels, and provides excessive calories. However, trans fats can be equally dangerous due to the fact that they clog arteries, increase liver fat, and slow metabolism.
One study found that restricting trans fats in your diet could lead to serious health improvements. Yale School of Medicine and the University of Chicago Medicine teamed up to conduct a study on the impact of restricting trans fats. They studied data gathered between 2002 and 2013, focusing on hospital admissions for strokes and heart attacks.
Their research discovered something fascinating: people in states where trans fats were restricted had significantly fewer hospitalizations for heart disease. Compared to other urban areas where trans fats were unrestricted, the decline was 6.2% for restricted areas. That may not sound like much, but 6.2% of 610,000 (the number of people who die of heart disease every year) is more than 37,000 people that don’t die as a result of heart attacks and strokes.
If you live in areas with restricted access to trans fats, you’re fortunate. States like California and cities like New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago have taken steps to reduce trans fat content in food. Even now, the FDA has passed a nationwide ban on trans fats, which will reduce the trans fat content of your food even further. This means that the government is taking steps to improve your health by curtailing your access to this unhealthy fat.
But it’s still up to you stop eating trans fats and hydrogenated oils. That means cutting way back on fried and deep fried food, or any food that is made using a lot of margarine, shortening, or vegetable oil. Avoid foods that are processed or artificial, particularly savory food products. If you make an effort to eat food that is made from raw ingredients, you’ll find it’s much easier to avoid this unhealthy fat and drastically decrease your risk of heart disease.
1.Eric J. Brandt, Rebecca Myerson, Marcelo Coca Perraillon, Tamar S. Polonsky. “Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York.” JAMA Cardiology, 2017.