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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Gabriella

A lot of junk food comes loaded with trans fats, which when consumed in nearly any quantity may raise our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. These “killer fats” can be found in hydrogenated vegetable oils like margarines and shortenings, as well as in meat and dairy. With about 1/2 of American trans fat intake coming from animal products, it’s good to know that decreasing our trans fat intake may help prevent cholesterol build up in our arteries. This could explain why the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association, and American College of Cardiology both recommend reducing intake of trans fats, in hopes of preventing thousands of deaths annually.   

Consumption of trans fats also negatively impacts kidney function, even increases the mortality risk of breast cancer survivors by up to 78%. Trans fats are also associated with the progression of autoimmune diseases, cancer, and insulin resistance (the underlying cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes).  

Some foods are labeled “trans-fat free” when they are not. A loophole in labeling regulations allows foods with trans-fats that contain up to .5 grams per serving to be listed as having zero grams of trans-fat.


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