Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Americans are getting fatter - nation-wide obesity has risen by an astonishing 60% since 1991. According to the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity (broadly defined as 30 pounds over normal weight) is the second leading cause of death after tobacco in the US. Recent studies have identified trans fats (not found on food labels) as more dangerous for the heart than saturated fats, they are created during the process of partial hydrogenation (a process used to increase shelf life and stabilise flavour). A Harvard study in 1993 of 85,095 American nurses found that women who ate cookies, cakes and white bread containing vegetable shortening had one and a half times more heart attacks than women who ate lesser amounts. The Framingham Heart Study (ongoing) reports that "each additional teaspoon of margarine consumed in an average day increased the 10-20 year risk of having a heart attack by 10%.
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