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The Heart Killer Lurking in Your Food

Joelle Reizes - June 23, 2013



trans fat heart attack risk stroke risk

There’s a certain ingredient known to be harmful to the human heart. It’s a man-made fat which, over time, can seriously hurt your health. Although not as prevalent as it used to be, it still lurks in some of the foods you eat, hiding and waiting to damage your heart.

(Cue the Jaws theme song here.)

All joking aside, we’re talking about trans fat: one of the most unhealthy man-made ingredients you can eat. The reason it’s so unhealthy is because human bodies aren’t designed to digest this artificial fat. When you eat something with trans fat, it encourages a negative response from the body, leading to lower good cholesterol levels (HDL) and higher bad cholesterol levels (LDL). This creates a higher buildup of plaque in the arteries that can eventually lead to a heart attack.

“The big concern about trans fat is it causes heart disease,” said Michael Jacobson, PhD, cofounder and executive director of CSPI, in a Rodale.com article. “It has been causing thousands and thousands of heart attack deaths every year for decades.”

The dangers of trans fats are well-known, and in recent years foods companies have begun reducing their use of trans fats in their processed foods. However, the article discusses a new study from Harvard and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) that not only discovered that many foods still harbor trans fats, but the trans fat reduction rate among food companies has drastically worsened. Between 2007 to 2008, the trans fat reduction was at 30 percent. Between 2010 and 2011, however, that rate decreased to 3 percent.

Foods that Contain Trans Fat

Some of the foods you’re putting in your shopping cart may contain high amounts of trans fat. This unhealthy ingredient is primarily found in processed and fast foods, so it’s important to be aware of it. Below are a few items that still contain high amounts of trans fat.

Popcorn – specifically, Pop Secret Kettle Corn (5 grams per serving), Pop Secret Premium Butter Popcorn (5 grams), UTZ Cheese Flavored Hulless Puff’n Corn (3.5 grams), and Jolly Time Blast O Butter Popcorn (4 grams).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Pillsbury Big Deluxe Chocolate Chips Cookie Dough (2 grams per serving).

Biscuits – Pillsbury Grands! Buttermilk Biscuits (3.5 grams per serving)

Key Lime Pie – Sara Lee Key West Lime Pie (2 grams per serving)

– Long John Silver’s Breaded Clam Strips (7 grams per serving)

Much of what you eat contributes to the health of your heart. Consuming foods that are high in trans fat can directly impact your heart because it can cause high cholesterol – a major risk factor for heart disease. Lower your risk for heart problems by knowing and controlling what you eat every day.




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About the Author

Joelle Reizes

I am the Communications Director at Life Line Screening with more than 15 years of experience in the field of health communications, much of it specifically working with health screening programs. Read More.

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