Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

War on Trans Fat the FDA Helps, but Consumers Must Take Charge

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

War on Trans Fat the FDA Helps, but Consumers Must Take Charge

Article excerpt

The health risks associated with consuming trans fatty acids have been known for years, but their long shelf life and flavor- enhancing qualities made them irresistible for the food industry. Now, thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that unhealthy reliance on trans fats will have to end.

The FDA on Tuesday gave food manufacturers and restaurants three years to get rid of the artery cloggers for good, ordering an elimination that has been in the works since 2013.

Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to oils so they solidify and last, but the resulting substance - found in vegetable shortening and some margarine, crackers, cookies and snack foods as well as many deep-fried foods - pack a double whammy: They simultaneously raise bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels in the blood. In turn, that markedly increases the risks of heart disease and stroke and is associated with higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In 2006, the FDA began requiring companies to include trans fat content in their nutrition labels, which led many to eliminate them. …

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