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Today, we'll give you the skinny on trans fats.

New York City has banned trans fats from the city's restaurants. Colonel Sanders is probably turning in his grave.

You probably know that saturated fats and cholesterol contribute to heart disease. well, trans fats do, too. All three fats raise the LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart disease.

The problem is when you look at most restaurant menus, you don't know how much saturated fat, cholesterol or trans fats are in each dish. So, to take part of the guess work out of ordering, the New York City Board of Health voted unanimously, requiring restaurants to remove artificial trans fats from their foods.thus, making the city healthier.

Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fats are formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. They do this by adding hydrogen gas to vegetable oil. However, you can't totally avoid trans fats. They're naturally found in some animal based foods.

And, they're found in all kinds of processed foods like crackers, cookies, and snack foods, among others. You shouldn't totally eliminate all fats from your diet, because you do need some for energy, and adsorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.

However, what you need to do is carefully choose what fats you do eat. When grocery shopping, buy foods made with unsaturated fats like those that are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. And choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol. You can easily do this by reading the Nutrition label.

With more than 12.5 million Americans suffering from heart disease and half million dying from it every year - this is good reason to watch what you eat.

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For more information...

The US Food and Drug administration (FDA) has produced a consumer article that provides awareness of the risk posed by consuming too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. It is an excellent resource for information. For more information...

The University of Maryland has a well written and informative article entitled "Trans Fats 101" that explains what transfats are, where they can be found and tips on how to spot them. For more information...

Harvard School of Public Health has an extensive web site called "The Nutrition Source" to aid consumers develop a healthy diet which includes avoiding trans fats. They also show you the new food label and where to look for the amount of trans fats in the foods that you buy in the grocery store. For more information...


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