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Americans consuming more trans fats than they realize, but not for long

Published On: Nov 07 2013 07:46:03 PM CST

FDA says trans fats are no longer generally recognized as safe and will ask food industry to phase them out.


Americans consume more trans fats than they realize, and phasing them out would have a big impact, according to a local dietitian.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it'll require the food industry to gradually phase out trans fats.

"They're thinking that if we could really get rid of these trans fats, we can prevent another 20,000 heart attacks and another 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year," said Jackie Berning, PhD R.D. "So it's a big impact."

Many processed foods have trans fats to increase their shelf life. Berning said things like crackers, cookies and other snacks have them, and they're not healthy.

"The concern with trans fats is that they raise blood levels of cholesterol higher than saturated fat, so they're pretty nasty," she said.

Over the years, trans fats have become used to a lesser extent. But Americans still consume them without knowing it. Berning said according to the law, food products that have up to .5 grams of trans fats can say they have zero on their label.

"That's the problem, that's one of the concerns, is that we don't think we're eating it, because of the label, yet in fact we are probably consuming more than what we think we are," she said.

The Institute of Medicine dietary guidelines said you should eat no more than two grams of trans fats a day.


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