nsucurrent.com April 25, 2018

Trans fats ban linked with fewer NY heart attacks & strokes

14 April 2017, 12:13 | Violet Powell

Trans fats ban linked with fewer NY heart attacks & strokes

H. Kenneth Woods chef and owner of Sylvia's restaurant cooks southern fried chicken using a soy bean oil that doesn't contain trans fats in New York's Harlem neighborhood. A

We compared hospitalization for heart attacks and stroke from 2002 through 2013 in counties that did and did not have restrictions.

That translates to 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 people, according to the Yale University study. The restrictions provided a good opportunity to examine changes in cardiovascular health after implementation, says coauthor Eric Brandt, a Yale University internist. The decline for the combined conditions was 6.2%.

Brandt told Reuters Health that New York City was also pushing other public health initiatives around the same time. "The evidence from this study indicates that implementation of a nationwide ban on trans fats will reduce heart disease and save many lives in the United States".

The encouraging results of the study published Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology hints at the great potential for widespread health benefits from a planned nationwide ban on use of artificial trans fats in restaurant foods.

You might be thinking what is Trans Fat?

In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped in and revoked the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of partially hydrogenated oils, a move that will prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils in all food by 2018.

These fats can boost blood levels of unhealthy cholesterol, increasing risks for heart problems.

The researchers compared 2002-13 data from NY counties with and without restrictions on trans fats. The researchers noted though that there has been no direct cause-and-effect link between the restriction and number of people with heart disease. Some counties, such as Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond, banned trans-fatty acids in 2007, but others, such as Westchester, Nassau, Albany, Suffolk, Rockland, and Broome followed suit in the years that followed. The reduction was consistent when investigators restricted their analysis to counties with large metropolitan areas and when they excluded New York City from the analysis. However, after 2006, the analysis found that populations in counties with the ban experienced additional declines beyond what would have been expected based on the existing downward trends.

Although the study found a link between trans fat restrictions and a lower heart attack and stroke risk, it's important to note that the study wasn't created to prove a direct cause-and-effect link. The restrictions applied to food purchased outside of stores, such as at restaurants, street vendors and bakeries, in the city's five counties.

"There has been a lot of looking into whether trans fats are harmful", said Brandt.

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