Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trans Fat Ban: Watch Saturated Fats And Calories Too

Date:
December 23, 2006
Source:
Tufts University
Summary:
The New York City trans fat ban is a step in the right direction, but the regulation that requires some restaurants to display calories as prominently as price is just as important. Also missing in the discussion? Replacing trans fat will saturated fat would be problematic.

In December, New York City passed a law to phase out the use of trans fat in restaurants. Other cities, including Boston and Chicago, might follow suit. According to Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Gershoff professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, the ban is a step in the right direction, but restaurateurs need to replace partially hydrogenated fat with unsaturated fat. If they choose saturated fat it would diminish the health benefits of this new initiative. Another new regulation that requires some restaurants to provide calorie information as prominently as price might be even more important, notes Lichtenstein.

"There is no biological need for trans fat and intake is associated with adverse health outcomes. However, the media attention on the trans fat announcement to the exclusion of the calorie labeling is unfortunate. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has proposed that the calorie content of food items be displayed as prominently as the price, at the point of purchase," says Lichtenstein, also director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts.

"That means," Lichtenstein continues, "that if you are wavering between placing an order for a small versus a medium order of French fries, both the price and the number of calories per serving will be displayed. People will become more aware of the caloric cost of the foods they order, and the next step on a public health level would be to educate the consumer on the amount of calories their body needs per day. This way, they will be able to put the numbers they see on the board or menu into perspective. Because the amount of food and beverages we eat that is prepared outside the home is so large, even if this regulation just covers a fraction of food service establishments, it can have a tremendous impact on caloric intake."

"Trans fat," says Lichtenstein, "is a double whammy, because like saturated fat, it raises levels of LDL or 'bad cholesterol,' but it also lowers levels of HDL or 'good' cholesterol." Most of the trans fats we eat are formed during the partial hydrogenation of oils used in fried foods and commercial baked goods. Partially hydrogenated oils provide processed foods with longer shelf lives and therefore greater economic profitability.

"But, trans fat is just one part of the diet. In general, people are still eating far more saturated fat than trans fat, and both need to be reduced in order to maintain optimal cholesterol levels and promote heart health," says Lichtenstein. "And the big giant -- total calories -- is always looming in the background."

In one study to assess the effects of consuming different types of oils on cholesterol levels, led by Lichtenstein and published earlier this year, fifteen adult volunteers with moderately high LDL cholesterol were fed each of four diets with a different source of primary fat, including partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat), palm oil (50 percent saturated fat), non-hydrogenated soybean oil (only 16 percent saturated fat), and canola oil (only 7 percent saturated fat).

The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), reported that after a trial of 35 days on each diet, participants consuming the partially hydrogenated soybean oil and palm oil diets had levels of LDL cholesterol that were 12 and 14 percent higher, respectively, than when consuming the non-hydrogenated soybean oil diet. An even greater difference was observed when the partially hydrogenated soybean oil and palm oil diets were compared to the canola oil diet. While participants were on the partially hydrogenated soybean oil and palm oil diets their LDL levels were 16 and 18 percent higher, respectively, than when on the canola oil diet.

"On the basis of this and other work, it's clear that phasing out partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) will improve diet in some ways, "says Lichtenstein, corresponding author on the AJCN study. "However, just decreasing trans fat intake without changing other dietary habits, such as minimizing saturated fat intake and controlling total calorie intake, will result in some real disappointments with respect to both heart health and obesity."

Lichtenstein recommends that other cities monitor the successes and challenges of the trans fat ban in New York City before implementing their own regulations, and also advises that the focus on the new regulations shift to the mandate to display calorie labeling in food service establishments, and educating people about their total daily caloric requirements.

Vega-Lopez S, Ausman LM, Jalbert SM, Erkkila AT, Lichtenstein AH. "Palm and partially hydrogenated soybean oils adversely alter lipoprotein profiles compared with soybean and canola oils in moderately hyperlipidemic subjects." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2006 (July);84(1):54-62.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tufts University. "Trans Fat Ban: Watch Saturated Fats And Calories Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061223092739.htm>.
Tufts University. (2006, December 23). Trans Fat Ban: Watch Saturated Fats And Calories Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061223092739.htm
Tufts University. "Trans Fat Ban: Watch Saturated Fats And Calories Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061223092739.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins