News tagged with trans fats

Inside the Bloomberg public health toolbox

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg's term comes to a close, the latest research conducted by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public indicates that he leaves a legacy of ambitious public health policies from pioneering restrictions ...

Dec 19, 2013
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What's healthier, butter or margarine?

Butter gets points for taste; margarine for being easy to spread. But the healthiest option is not strictly called butter or margarine – it's a "spread".

Dec 16, 2013
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Experts hope sugar, salt are next on FDA target list

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has moved to banish most trans fats from the nation's diet, some public health advocates are hopeful that two other beloved ingredients - sugar and salt - will be subject to similar ...

Nov 12, 2013
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Q&A: What are trans fats?

You may not even know you are eating them, but trans fats will eventually be a thing of the past. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is phasing them out, calling them a threat to public health. Some questions and answers about ...

Nov 08, 2013
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US to ban artery-clogging trans fats (Update 2)

The U.S., Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it will require the food industry to gradually phase out artificial trans fats, saying they are a threat to Americans' health. Commissioner Margaret ...

Nov 07, 2013
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US city tries less salt in Chinese restaurant food

Organizers have recruited more than 200 restaurants across Philadelphia for the U.S. city's Healthy Chinese Takeout Initiative, which aims to reduce the food's salt content by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Aug 23, 2013
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Trans fat

Trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated but never saturated.

Unsaturated fat is a fat molecule, containing one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms. Since the carbons are double-bonded to each other, there are fewer bonds available for hydrogen, so there are fewer hydrogen atoms, hence "unsaturated". Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms across the double bond. In the cis arrangement, the chains are on the same side of the double bond, resulting in a kinked geometry. In the trans arrangement, the chains are on opposite sides of the double bond, and the chain is straight overall.

The process of hydrogenation is intended to add hydrogen atoms to cis-unsaturated fats, eliminating a double bond and making them more saturated. These saturated fats have a higher melting point, which makes them attractive for baking and extends their shelf-life. However, the process frequently has a side effect that turns some cis-isomers into trans-unsaturated fats instead of hydrogenating them completely.

There is another class of trans fats, vaccenic acid, which occurs naturally in trace amounts in meat and dairy products from ruminants.

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA