Trans Fats and Women

Trans fats are in the news again tonight. They've gotten a pretty bad rap lately. Still, there are those who argue trans fats aren't as evil as everyone says they are. But now, new important research has been released that may settle the argument once and for all.

New York City has banned trans fats in all its restaurants. And it appears that action is warranted, because the latest research shows, those with higher levels of trans fats in the blood have a higher risk of having a heart attack. But another study provides good news: a daily aspirin can help many women reduce their risk of death. “You think this can’t be happening.”

 Debbie Ann Schneider started to suspect she was having a heart attack when she developed a little nausea and difficulty breathing…while exercising. The E.R. doctor doubted the diagnosis…at first. “He came back hours later, and he said white as a ghost, I can’t believe you had a heart attack.” The fact is, it happens in women, and diet is a big factor. And if you had to point the finger at dietary public enemy number one, it’s trans fats.

The latest American Heart Association study definitively links blood levels of trans fats with heart disease risk in women. Women with the highest blood levels of trans fats had triple the risk of heart disease as those with the lowest levels. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, says, “This is an important study. This is the first time we measured trans fats in the blood. And we found even the low level of trans fats incresaed a woman’s chances of heart disease.”

The authors say this study shows are worse than saturated fat. “Trans fats have no place in our diet. Trans fats were invented to increase shelf life of baked goods in supermarkets. They were not invented for our health. So stay away from them,” states Dr. Goldberg. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1 percent of total calories from trans fat and less than 7 percent of total calories from saturated fat each day. .

 Dr. Goldberg emphasizes this point, saying when eliminating trans fats from the diet not to replace them with saturated fats like you find in red meat, whole fat dairy products and eggs. So, trans fats…bad. But aspirin…good! According to another study just released Monday, women who use a daily aspirin have overall a 25% reduction in death risk…especially for cardiovascular risk.

 Still, the recommendations for using and prescribing aspirin are hazy. “If a woman is very healthy and doing everything right, an aspirin a day may not reduce her risk further. I prescribe aspirin to all women of any age who have heart disease. Because it can prevent a second heart attack. And then there’s the women 45-65 although an aspirin did not reduce their risk foe hart attack there was a small reduction in the risk for stroke. What this all means is that all women should be asking their doctor if an aspirin is right for her.” Debbie Ann is on one now, and continues to eat a healthy, low trans fat diet--on top of exercising daily. “I enjoy life even more now,” she says.


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