Transfat


A gentleman just left a rather oddly rude comment on an entry I made back in September about transfat. While I’m rather taken aback that someone would be so rude about an opinion on transfat, it does occur to me that people haven’t heard too much or understand what the big deal is.

The Wikipedia article on transfat is a good starting point. Of note, eating trans fat increases the risk of coronary heart disease. They raise LDL(Low Density Lipoprotein) levels and lower HDL(High Density Lipoprotein) levels, so that plaque accumulates more rapidly on blood vessel walls. LDL/HDL ratio is considered a fairly reliable marker for CHD risk. Trans fats are also not essential for life.

Let’s go to the National Academies Press Dietary Reference.

A UL is not set for trans fatty acids because any incremental increase in trans fatty acid intake increases CHD risk. … Nevertheless, it is recommended that trans fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.

This includes knocking off that 4 grams of transfat in the Krispy Creme donut.

Let’s get into some numbers from the Nurse’s Health Study:

For each two percent of trans fat calories consumed the risk of CHD(Coronary Heart Disease) the risk nearly doubled (RR(Relative Risk)=1.94), similar to the effect achieved with increasing consumption of calories from saturated fat by 15 percent.

Still want that 4 grams of trans fat? Still think it is insignificant, unless you are “particularly unhealthy”? Trans fat interferes with the production of arachidonic acid, an important vasoconstrictor among other functions it performs in the body. The jury is still out on whether there is a connection between trans fat and cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Transfats occur naturally in animal-based diets, and so are hard to avoid. That 4 grams in your Krispy Kreme doughnut is going to compound with that from the milk and meat; it is not going to occur in isolation.

If you want a Krispy Kreme doughnut, just think about whether increasing the risk of coronary heart disease is worth it, at least until they find a healthier way of doughnut making.

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One Response

  1. […] Krispy Kreme cheeseburger. Here’s a reference on how thoroughly I’m disgusted. However, I bet the Apostropher would be delighted, given his taste in food. Technorati Tags: […]

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