Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Since trans-fatty acids are known to enhance the taste and improve the shelf life of food, they have been widely used in everything from crackers and cookies to fast-foods like French fries since the 1890s. Unfortunately for consumers, these trans-fats are a notorious artery blocker and have been linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So can a trans-fat ban lower heart attack rates? Read on to know the answer.

Can A Trans-Fat Ban Lower Heart Attack Rates?

Trans-fats are basically a by-product of partially hydrogenated oils and are extremely harmful for cardiovascular health. These unhealthy fats started being used in processed foods in the 1950s and ’60s, at the time when saturated fats were first linked with heart disease. Trans fat became popular throughout the ’80s, when they were used in “healthy” foods which boasted “no saturated fats” on their label. It was not until the 1990s that trans fats, which was once believed to be healthier than saturated fats, were recognized as hazardous to health.

Trans fat, which was considered safe all along, is actually the most harmful fat in food items. So, can trans-fat ban lower heart attack rates? For those wondering about this, it is important to know that trans-fat does is related to greater risk of heart diseases and avoiding them is the only way out. Found in products like chips, baked goods, fried foods and crackers, these unhealthy fats increased the risk of cardiac diseases and heart attacks. Hence, it is important to minimize or eliminate trans-fat from the diet, to substantially decrease the rate of stroke and heart attack. A trans-fat ban can lower heart attack rates and appropriate steps must be taken in this direction.

Public Policy on Trans-Fat

It however still took a surprisingly long time for the society to give up trans fats for good. Public policies have the power to impact the cardiovascular health of a population. This was proven by communities which restricted trans fats in foods. They witnessed a decrease in the rate of heart attack and stroke after the ban was imposed. Denmark banned trans fats in 2004, and subsequent studies proved the effectiveness of the ban in saving lives. In 2007, New York followed Denmark’s footsteps. Trans-fat bans were imposed in some countries of New York state in USA. 3 years after the trans fats ban was implemented, the case of heart attacks and strokes in these counties decreased by an additional 6.2% beyond the nationwide average. All these results clearly indicate that the bans worked successfully and a trans-fat ban can lower heart attack rates.

FDA Ban on Trans-Fat

As per the previous U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labelling guidelines, up to 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving could be labelled as 0 grams. So the people were unaware of the hidden trans fats which they were consuming. However, with the latest FDA regulation, this problem will be solved. The FDA regulation of 2018 completely bans the use of partially hydrogenated oil in foods. This implies that unhealthy trans fats will no longer be used in industry-prepared foods. Due to this ban, a large number of manufacturers have replaced trans fats with palm oil. Even though palm oil leads to deforestation and is high in saturated fat, but it is still trans fats-free. Even though saturated fat is not great for health, it is still better than trans fats, thus making this replacement overall beneficial.

Final Take

It should however always be remembered that there is no safe level for artificially produced trans-fat, and it is best to avoid all products which contain partially hydrogenated oils. There is no such thing as “moderation” when it comes to trans fats, so complete abstinence is the right way to go to avoid heart disease. The best would be to completely avoid products containing fats, more particularly void the use of trans-fat to lower heart attack rates.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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