Magazine article USA TODAY

Chewing the Fat Is a Health Risk

Magazine article USA TODAY

Chewing the Fat Is a Health Risk

Article excerpt

Fat in food doesn't even have to be swallowed to have a harmful effect on the body. A study by Richard Mattes, associate professor of foods and nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., found that people who just tasted fat, but didn't swallow it, had increased levels of triglycerides in their bodies. Elevated levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. High levels put people at high risk of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks.

"The study indicates that consumers may realize a previously unrecognized benefit from eating products containing fat substitutes," he explains. "Fat substitutes not only reduce the total fat consumed and calorie intake while maintaining the appeal of foods, they may also prevent an undesirable change in blood fat levels." At this point, Mattes says he only can speculate on how this change in the body takes place. in the study, 15 adults were given -- in random order -- crackers topped with regular cream cheese, crackers topped with fat-free cream cheese, plain crackers, or nothing. After they had chewed the snack for a few moments, they were asked to spit it out without swallowing. …

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