Indiana News

Cardiologist: Most Trans Fats Already Gone

11/14/2013

Trans fats are on their way out of all food sold in the U.S., but a cardiologist says most of them were already gone, even though some labels that say foods are free of trans-fats can be misleading.

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The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it would force companies to phase out the use of all trans fats, which increase the risk of heart disease.  "They believe they can reduce heart attacks by 20,000 a year in the United States and maybe save as many as 7,000 lives just by making the additional changes on top of what's already been made," said Dr. Kirk Parr, a cardiologist with St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana.  

Trans fats naturally occur in some meat and dairy products - those are not regulated by the FDA.  Only artificial trans-fats will be subject to the ban.  Many companies changed cooking oils to rid their foods of trans fat content ten years ago, when the FDA began making companies list trans fat content on all food labels.  But Parr says it still shows up in some foods.  "I don't want to name any companies, but you go into convenience stores or gas station - those sort-of grab and go things; those foods have a long shelf life, and those foods tend to have a lot of trans fats."

Another reason for the ban is that foods that claim to have no trans fat sometimes do have it - and it's perfectly legal.  "No trans fat, you would think it means no, but in fact it means less than five-percent," said Parr.

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