California was the first state to ban trans fats and New York city was the largest city to do so in 2007. But, we all need to make the effort to eliminate these harmful fats which have become a staple of the American diet since the 1940s. Why? They contribute to sub-clinical inflammation in our bodies which can lead to many chronic conditions like diabetes. Although trans fats hide in foods like margarine, popcorn, and crackers, it does not mean that you can hide from their effects. They can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and higher cholesterol. German chemist, Wilhelm Normann, who determined how to use partial hydrogenation, probably did not know that using vegetable oil to create margarine and other trans fats types would be so detrimental to us all.
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mandated that food and supplement manufacturers needed to let consumers know that products contained trans fats, and we began to see labels listing the amount of trans fats. However, even with labeling, the problem was not solved. People did not understand what they were looking at or how trans fats could affect them. It wasn’t until the 70s that scientists and researchers began making discoveries about the ill effects of consuming trans fats. Then, it would take another 30 years to see actual proof of these effects in the form of cardiovascular disease, strokes, and more.
In April of 2017, study results were released by University of Chicago and Yale schools of Medicine revealing that people living in places where trans fats were restricted fared better. Analyzing hospital records revealed that incidences of heart attacks and strokes for individuals residing in these places were considerably lower than other areas. In fact, combined they were 6.2 percent lower. Apparently, eating even a “little bit” of trans fats can translate into big consequences like higher risk of a cardiovascular event. In a study conducted at Harvard in 1993, the results suggested that if individuals could reduce their trans-fat consumption by as little as two percent and replace with unsaturated fat which is better for them, it would lower coronary heart disease risk by about one third.
Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. When studying the effects of trans fats on pigs, Fred Kummerow of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign concluded that trans fats in their diets produced adverse reactions. Higher intakes of trans fats could mean higher risks of cardiovascular consequences according to Mary Enig of the University of Maryland, College Park. In fact, trans fats not only increase our bad cholesterol (LDLs), but they decrease our good cholesterol (HDLs). Don’t you think it is time to bite back against trans fats and ban them once and for all from your diet?