Trans Fat Out, Saturated Fat In

The hammer is certainly falling on trans fat. In fact, a few months ago it seemed like every week another restaurant or food producer was giving it the heave-ho. Just take a look at this list:
So then, booting trans fat from the food supply must be a good thing, right? Well, there might be a problem with that too. The Associated Press reports banning trans fat might mean a resurgence of an old enemy, saturated fat. Lauran Neergaard explains:
Trans fat has become the new fall guy for bad nutrition. Chain restaurants are struggling to get it off the menu after New York City and Philadelphia required restaurants to phase it out by next year. Bills to restrict or ban trans fat in restaurants or school cafeterias have been introduced in at least 20 states.


At grocery stores, the government began forcing food labels to disclose the amount of trans fat in packaged foods last year, and the race was on to see which manufacturers could eliminate it first.

The irony: Americans eat about five times more saturated fat than trans fat. And while gram-for-gram, trans fat is considered somewhat more harmful than its cousin, too much of either greatly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other ailments.
Now, the low-carb loonies of the world might not see this as a problem, but, those of us who live in reality know that saturated fat poses serious long-term health problems. Don’t take my word for it. Dr. Fuhrman talks about the dangers of saturated fat in Disease-Proof Your Child:
When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.1 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.2

A low-fiber, high-saturated-fat diet with lots of animal products, dairy fat, white flour, and sugar creates a heart attack-prone person with high cholesterol levels. The anti-cancer lifestyle, a healthy diet style for the entire family, started early in life, will have the added benefit of making it easier for children to become heart attack-proof. A diet high in plant fiber shows a protective effect against developing high cholesterol, obesity, and elevated insulin levels. Eating more of the natural high-fiber plant food in childhood has a powerful protective effect on preventing later-life heart problems, even for those a strong family history of heart disease.3 For those whose family genetically predisposes them to heart disease, early-life dietary excellence can make the difference between a long life free of heart disease and a heart attack in one’s forties or fifties.
1. Eriksson JG, Forsen T, Tuomilehto J, et al. Catch-up growth in childhood and death from coronary heart disease: longitudinal study. BMJ 1999;318(7181):427-431.

2. Berenson GS, Srinivasan SR, Nicklas TA. Atherosclerosis: a nutritional disease of childhood. Bogalusa Heart Study. AM J Cardiol 1998;82(10B):22T-29T. Berenson GS. Childhood risk factors predict adult risk associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease. The Bolgulusa Heart Study. Am J Cardiol 2002;90(10C):3L-7L. Vos LE, Orien A, Uiterwaal C, et al. Adolescent blood pressure and blood pressure tracking into young adulthood are related to subclinical atherosclerosis: the atherosclerosis risk in young adults (ARYA) study. Am J Hypertens 2003 16(7):549-555.

3. Ludwig DS, Pereira MA, Kroenke CH, et al. Dietary fiber, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adults. JAMA 1999;282(16):15-39-1546.
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