Study after study has shown that trans-fats are linked to heart disease. Now, new research has come in to suggest a link to an increased stroke risk in women. The highest risk for stroke is in middle-aged and older women who ate the most trans-fats in their diets. Fortunately, regular use of aspirin appeared to moderate this risk.
Data from over 87,000 women were analyzed to determine if there was a link between dietary fat and stroke risk. Researchers found risk of stroke was not linked to total fat intake, but elevated risk was strongly associated with higher amounts of trans-fat consumption. An increase in stroke risk of nearly 40% was seen in the women in the study who ate the most trans-fats. This risk is independent of all the other lifestyle and dietary factors that contribute to stroke.
Trans-fats were once common place in baked goods and fried foods, but they are slowly and thankfully disappearing from grocery stores and restaurants. As more and more evidence mounts, the effort to remove them completely grows. This study only adds fuel to the fire. It is important to note that this study does not prove that a high trans-fat diet causes strokes, but it does suggest that it may. However, given all the known risks of trans-fats, do we really need to study them further to know that they are not good for us? The evidence as a whole suggests that we eliminate trans-fats altogether.
It appears those efforts are taking root. The average blood levels of trans-fats in U.S. adults have dropped by almost 60% in the past decade according to the CDC. Legislation and voluntary efforts from manufacturers appear to be having an impact. Consumers need to be vigilant and always read the labels. If the words “partially hydrogenated” appear anywhere on the label, leave it on the shelf.
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