FDA Moves to Reduce Trans Fats Risks

    10 December, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

    Food safety agencies in the United States have launched an effort to end the use of partially hydrogenated oils, these oils are the main cause of "trans fats" in some processed foods. Health officials say the use of trans fats in food products is possibly harmful and can lead to deadly health conditions.

    FDA Moves to Reduce Trans Fats Risks
    FILE - Fast food French fries.

    It is an example of what tastes good may not be good for you. Many of the foods that can contain trans fats are American favorites, they are thought of as comfort food, a lot of people eat a great deal of these foods.

    Lisa Martin is a heart specialist at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

    "Cookies, cakes, pies and pastries, a lot of those prepared foods have the trans fat to increase the shelf life," said Martin.

    Dr. Martin says published reports have shown that trans fats block the flow of blood in the arteries and lead to serious health problems.

    "There are some of the articles that have shown that small amounts of trans fats reach 2 percent increases of trans fat in the diet. You can increase your chance of having a heart disease by as much as 30 percent in some of those articles. So, it is a significant risk factor for developing heart disease," she said.

    The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says some manufacturers and other businesses have already cut trans fat levels in their products. But the FDA says a further reduction could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

    FDA food safety director Dennis Keefe says studies on the possible healthy benefits show why trans fats should not be used in food.

    "Information provided by recognized scientific bodies such as the Institute of Medicine indicated that and recommended that consumption of trans fats should be reduced to as close to zero as possible," said Keefe.

    Man-made trans fats have been used in restaurants and in processed foods to improve the texture, taste and the storage time of foods. But Mr. Keefe says a growing number of food producers are finding other substances to use instead of trans fats.

    "There are products that indeed can be formulated without the use of partially hydrogenated oils," he said.

    Americans will have 60 days to comment on an FDA proposal for ending the use of partly hydrogenated oils before the rule is final.

    And that is the Health Report from VOA Learning English. For more news about health, you can visit our website 21voa.com. You can also watch captioned videos at the VOA Learning English channel on YouTube. I'm Milagros Ardin.