Trans fats are not your friend

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in diet, heart disease, stroke | 5 comments

Do you want to live well past menopause? One way to do it is to cut out the trans fats (or partially hydrogenated oils) now!

Trans fats are found mostly in fried (e.g. french fries, donuts) and processed foods (e.g. pastries,  pizza dough, cookies, crackers). In the body, trans fats significantly raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels (read: raise bad fats, lower good fats). And since we already know that elevated cholesterol right around menopause is a major factor in heart disease in women, it makes sense that the stroke risk might also come into play.

In a study  presented last week at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference 2010, researchers analyzed data culled from 87,230 women who had participated in the Women’s Health Initiative and followed for about 8 years. After adjusting for possible factors that might influence results (e.g.s age, race, smoking, physical activity, alcohol, body mass index, hormone therapy, diabetes, aspirin use, fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber intake) they found that women who ate the most total fat had a 40% increased risk for ischemic stroke. Women who ate trans fat in particular, had a 30% increased risk for ischemic stroke. (Ischemic stroke is caused by blocked blood vessels in or leading to the brain.) So, how much fat were these women eating? Women who reported eating the most fat averaged about 86 grams of total fat and 7 grams of trans fat daily (compared to 26 grams and 1 gram, respectively, in women who ate the least).

It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Cut down on the fats and processed food and increase the healthy stuff. In the supermarket, stick to the store periphery where fruits, vegetables and all the good stuff can be found. Read the label…often.

Truly, trans fat is not your friend.


  1. 3-1-2010

    Great tips! I try my best to stay away from trans fats. But with heart disease on the rise among American women I am sure a lot of people do not follow this. Have a wonderful Monday!

    • 3-1-2010

      Thanks Cascia! Really appreciate your comment and time. Heart disease is a particularly slippery slope for women and no time like the present to change habits!

  2. 3-3-2010

    Isn’t it so scary that there are truly dangerous foods out there? And isn’t it even scarier that many people still eat them? Thanks for the reminder, Liz!

    • 3-3-2010

      Thank you Sheryl! I’d like to believe that broadcasting and highlighting these dangers will ultimately lead to better eating habits!

  3. 3-9-2010

    Nice tips! I agree that we should cut the trans fat and read labels especially if we become older. We should take in more fruits and veggies to be healthier.


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