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AMA: Ban trans fats in bakeries, restaurants


November 11, 2008
By American Medical Association

Nov. 10, 2008, ORLANDO, Fla. – In an effort to help Americans maintain good health and lower the risk
of the nation's number one killer, heart disease, the American Medical
Association (AMA) today adopted policy that supports legislation to ban
the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries
nationwide.


"Trans fats have been proven to raise LDL, the bad
cholesterol, while lowering HDL, the good cholesterol, which
significantly increases the risk for heart disease," said Mary Anne
McCaffree, M.D., AMA board member. "By supporting a ban on the use of
artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries, we can help improve
the quality of the food Americans eat and may ultimately save lives.

Major cities such as Chicago
and New York have already placed a ban on the use of trans fats in
restaurants and bakeries. California signed a law banning trans fats
earlier this year. Previous AMA policy on trans fats urged a reduction
in its use and encouraged replacing trans fats with healthier fats and
oils.

"Not all fats
are the same," said Dr. McCaffree. "By replacing artificial trans fats
with healthier alternatives, like extra virgin olive oil, we could
prevent approximately 30,000 to 100,000 premature deaths each year."

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Trans fats comes from
adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called
hydrogenation. Hydrogenation gives foods a longer shelf life.
Commercial baked goods, like crackers, cookies and cakes, along with
many fried foods, like french fries and doughnuts contain trans fats.

"Eating healthy and
getting regular exercise are two of the best things you can do in your
daily life to achieve and maintain good health. Packaged foods that
contain trans fats must say so on the label, so read the nutritional
labels at the grocery store and choose your foods carefully," said Dr.
McCaffree.