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So much grease, so little time.
As a nation, we're not "getting it" yet. Understand that fried foods are BAD for you. Here's why:
Consider the New York City Board of Health that recently (2007) required that restaurants all reduce the content of the so-called "TRANS FATTY ACIDS" so that each and every serving contained less than 0.5 grams of the stuff. The New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that a 2% increase in caloric intake from "Trans" fatty acids was associated with a 23% increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease. The relationship here is stronger than was seen with saturated fats.
So, what exactly are "Trans" fatty acids? Naturally occuring fats consist of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated oils such as vegetable oils area converted to the "Trans" form by a partial hydrogenation process that increases their stability as well as raising their melting point. This process converts vegetable oils into semisolid fats for use in things such as margarines, commercial cooking and some manufacturing processes.
Heretofore, it was assumed that "Trans" fatty acids would be healthier than saturated fats, but they have been shown to decrease HDL cholesterol (the so-called "good" cholesterol) and actually increase LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol). It has also been shown that "Trans" fatty acids damage the soft lining to our blood vessels. As well, "Trans" fatty acids have also demonstrated that they increase abdominal fat deposition and insulin resistance both of which are early signs of the developement of Type II adult onset diabetes.
We need to now know, where can "Trans" fatty acids be found? Well, for one thing, we can find them in deep fried foods everywhere. We can also find them in packaged snacks and bakery products which are the three big major sources of "Trans" fatty acids in the United States. The average daily intake in the U.S. of "Trans" fatty acids is about 2.6% or about 6 grams in a typical American 2000 calorie daily diet. The American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of "Trans" fatty acids to 1% of daily caloric intake. To keep all of this in perspective, a deep-fried fast food meal contains upwards of 10 grams of "Trans" fatty acids per serving.
Can we avoid these awful "Trans" fatty acids? Yes, and The American Heart Association tells us how by considering the following:
1) Choose a diet rich in fruits, whole-grain, high fiber foods and fat-free/low-fat dairy if possible.
2) Keep total fat intake between 25% and 35% of calories, with most fats coming from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds and veggie oils as often as possible.
3) Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated veggie oils such as canola (best), safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
4) Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated veggie oils.
5) Look for "0 g trans fat" inscriptions on the Nutrition Facts page of a product.
6) French Fries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are all very high in "Trans" fatty acids. Try your best to avoid them.
7) Limit commerically fried foods and baked good made with shortening or partially hydrogenated veggie oils.
8) Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats will continue to be made by hydrogenation and will continue to contain saturated fats and "Trans" fat.
Please try to remember that what doesn't get you now, could hurt you later in life. Heart Disease is the great silent killer of Americans and has been for years. Much of the misery, deprevation, ill health and death can be traced back to poor eating habits that contain a fair amount of deep fried foods which in turn dump too much "Trans" fat into a person's body. And to boot, the bad eating habits started 20 to 30 years previously in many of the heart disease sufferers. Please, we urge you all to carefully watch your diet. You don't have to go hungry, just eat sensibly and avoid the junk foods that permiate our society.
Dr. Mercola tells us that the five WORST foods to eat are the following:
1) Doughnuts (just discussed)
2) Soda (see separate page regarding sodas on this WEB site)
3) French Fries ( Already discussed)
4) Chips (almost the same as Fried Foods)
5) Fried non-fish seafood.
Note most of this list is made up of Fried Foods. Think about it.
See: The Medical Letter, Vol. 49 (#1267), August, 2007.