New Yorkers Take a Step in a Healthy Direction
New York City 's Board of Health is the first city in the country to fix one of the FDA's many blunders: its position on trans-fats. Ever since the FDA gave its stamp of approval, trans-fats have exploded the risk of heart disease worldwide.
New York 's ban on trans-fat won't take full effect until July of 2008, but it's a step in the right direction. After years of widespread use, numerous studies link trans-fats to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer - to name just a few of many problems. They have proven to increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol. What's worse, they decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol. They also cause inflammation and rob your brain and heart of the real fats you need.
Many doctors recommended "low-fat" products containing trans-fats for years, thinking they were helping their patients. My friend and colleague, Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, recently said:
"A lot of people had made their careers telling people to eat margarine [containing trans-fats] instead of butter. ... When I was a physician in the 1980s, that's what I was telling people to do and unfortunately we were often sending them to their graves prematurely."
And margarine isn't the only culprit. In fast-food restaurants, you'll find trans-fat in just about every menu item. A McDonald's deluxe breakfast has a whopping 11 grams of trans-fat. A Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner has about seven grams. The average order of fries has six grams.
Whether you're at home or in a restaurant, make sure you know what you're eating. And get a balance of the good fats that matter - like omega-3s. You'll find them in grass-fed beef, wild salmon, avocados, nuts, and cod liver oil.