A study in the British medical journal, Lancet, shows that people who eat the most partially hydrogenated fats are the ones who are most likely to die of heart attacks.

We have suspected for more than 20 years that partially hydrogenated or trans fats are associated with heart attacks, but previous studies showed the association between heart attacks was with partially hydrogenated fats made from vegetable oils. What is different this time is that the partially hydrogenated fats in this study were made from fish oils.

Fats are classified into saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Many studies show that eating lots of saturated fats raises cholesterol and increases risk for heart attacks. Substituting polyunsaturated vegetable oils for saturated meat or dairy fats helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. However, manufacturers convert unstable polyunsaturated oils to more stable partially hydrogenated fats, which are similar to saturated fats and may be even more harmful. The Lancet article shows that it doesn't make any difference what kind of oil you use; when you add hydrogen to make any oil partially hydrogenated, you make it different from chemicals found in nature and therefore increase a person's risk for disease.

I recommend that you avoid all foods that have partially hydrogenated fats in them. Read the labels on all processed foods such as breakfast cereals, bakery products, snack foods, frozen foods, and margarines.

Lancet, March 10, 2001

Checked 1/7/04

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