Nutritional and Herbal Solutions

Daniel C. Luthi, N.E., C.D.C., Nutritionist & Chinese Herbalist 

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Taichung, Taiwan

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Related Health News:

Omega-3 EFA Affect Risk Of Depression, Inflammation

Reducing Inflammation

Study Shatters Milk Myth

My Current Focus:        

Trans Fats in our Diet

Diabetes in Taiwan

Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis

My Weight-Loss Program:

Balancing Act I

Balancing Act II

Balancing Act III





Trans Fats in our Diet

By Daniel C. Luthi, original article, published in the Taipei Times, 9/1/2005

Iíve been meaning to write this article for quite some time as I have been teaching nutrition and preventive medicine for over 10 years. A recent development in New York has prompted me to write this letter now in order to help my new homeland and its inhabitants to become aware of a potentially dangerous ingredient in our daily foods. The event in New York was the announcement by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to request restaurants to replace margarine and similar cooking oils, collectively called trans fats, with healthier oils.

These trans fats, found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, increase the chance of developing heart disease as well as raising overall and bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering good cholesterol (HDL). Research by the Harvard School of Public Health and other facilities show that they increase the risk for diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, interfere with cerebral cortex function (lowered intelligence) and vision in children, and that they double the risk of heart attacks. 

Some of you may say that you donít eat out that often and that you donít use these kinds of oils and margarines at home. The problem is that these trans fats are found in an extremely broad range of commercial products such as instant noodles, cookies, cakes, potato chips, shrimp crackers, ice cream, milk powder, French fries, onion rings, salad dressings, and virtually all fast foods. How many of these products do you or your children eat every day?

So, what can we do? Try to avoid eating processed and fast foods as listed above, start looking at the labels when shopping, avoid products that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and/or vegetable shortenings, and start putting suggestions in those boxes found at your local supermarkets and grocery stores, demanding healthier choices. The world is full of products that avoid these dangerous additives; we just need to learn where to look and how to ask for them. Can you avoid trans fats entirely? Probably not, but you can certainly reduce their intake. And maybe itís time to start making your own salad dressing with delicious and health-promoting extra virgin olive oil!