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 Trans fats more harmful than saturated fats, says

Trans fats more harmful than saturated fats, says AHA study7/27/2001 (DataTimes )- Remember when wolfing down a big plate of fries atthe drive-in went from fun to frightful?It started when scientists discovered the heart-related dangers of foodssoaked in saturated fats, including animal-based fats like lard and palmand coconut oils. They said the solution was to cook those fries (ordoughnuts or cookies or pies) with trans fat, better known as hydrogenatedvegetable oil.Well, hold onto your junk food coupons, campers: A study reported lastweek by the American Heart Association says foods cooked with trans fatsmay be more harmful to your blood vessels than those cooked inold-fashioned saturated fat.But before you celebrate, here's the rub: Neither fat is good for you."It's not so much that we should be deciding to choose one fat overanother. The real message in this study is the need to reduce our intakeof both trans fats and saturated fats," says Cindy Moore, director ofNutrition Therapy for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a spokeswomanfor the American Dietetic Association.The goal of the research was "to compare saturated fats with trans fatsbecause of their potential to affect HDL levels," says lead study authorNicole DeRoos of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. HDL, or highdensity lipoprotein, is the "good" cholesterol that helps prevent heartdisease.DeRoos says the research showed that trans fats reduced blood vesselfunction nearly one-third more than saturated, lardlike fats, and theyreduced HDL cholesterol levels up to one-fifth more than saturated fats,increasing the risk of heart disease.DeRoos says the nasty effects are partly the result of the hydrogenationprocess that infuses substances like corn or soybean oil with a hydrogenatom, turning liquid oils to solid fats at room temperature. Trans fat,called "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils, are listed on thelabel of your favorite cookies, cakes or pies.While the negative effects of trans fats may be new to most folks, thefinding is no surprise to Moore and other nutrition experts."I think this demonstrates the ongoing recommendation of the AmericanHeart Association and others that we need to limit the amount of saturatedfats as well as trans fatty acids in our diet to no more than 10 percentof our total fat intake," Moore says.She says the rest of our fat intake, which should amount to no more than35 percent of our total dietary calories, should come from mono- orpolyunsaturated fats, like olive or canola oils in their natural, liquidstate."The chemical structure of these fats are different, and they do not havethe negative impact on our health as do the other fats. In fact, they canbe good for us," Moore says.DeRoos also warns: "Ready-made foods such as french fries, doughnuts andcrackers are the main source [of trans fatty acids in our diet], andlow-fat margarines rich in polyunsaturated fat and low in saturated fatsare still a healthier alternative than butter."

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