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Reducing your trans fat intake may help ward off heart attack, stroke

Some communities in the US -- most notably New York City -- have eliminated the use of trans fats in restaurants and eateries in recent years.

Reducing your trans fat intake may help ward off heart attack, stroke
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: Heart attacks and strokes are two primary causes of deaths around the world. An unhealthy lifestyle is often the main reason for them to occur and most of it has to do with poor eating habits, accompanied by little or no physical activity.

Poor eating habits include the consumption of more than the advised amount of trans fats, which is as unhealthy as one can go. 

Trans fats, also known as trans-unsaturated fatty acids or trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that are widely produced from vegetable fats.

It is a known fact that excessive consumption of trans fats can lead to many health issues which can also prove fatal in the long run, for instance, coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, liver dysfunction and infertility among others.

However, a research has found that reducing your unstaurated fat intake can help you keep heart attacks and strokes at bay, since they are less common in those among people living in areas that restrict trans fats in foods compared to residents in areas without restrictions.

"Our study highlights the power of public policy to impact the cardiovascular health of a population," said lead author Eric Brandt from Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, US. 

Fried foods, chips, crackers and baked goods are products that trans fats are commonly found in. Cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide, is associated with the consumption of trans fats.

Some communities in the US -- most notably New York City -- have eliminated the use of trans fats in restaurants and eateries in recent years.

To study the impact of restricting trans fats, researchers compared outcomes for people living in New York counties with and without the restrictions. 

Using data from the state department of health and census estimates between 2002 and 2013, the researchers focused on hospital admissions for heart attack and stroke.

They found that three or more years after the restrictions were implemented, people living in areas with the bans had significantly fewer hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke when compared to similar urban areas where no limits existed. 

The decline for the combined conditions was 6.2 percent, said the study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

"It is a pretty substantial decline," Brandt said.

"The results are impressive, given that the study focused on trans fatty acid bans in restaurants, as opposed to complete bans that included food bought in stores," senior author Tamar S. Polonsky, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, added.

"If we enact a more complete restriction on trans fatty acids, it could mean even more widespread benefits for people," Polonsky said. 

(With IANS inputs)

From Zee News

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