The Obama administration is requiring food companies to phase out the use of trans fats within the next three years. The move is expected to almost entirely remove artificial trans fats, deemed a public health threat by the federal government, from the American food supply. Trans fats are blamed for raising the levels of “bad” cholesterol and lowering “good” cholesterol found in the bloodstream, which raises the risk for heart disease. Trans fats are added to foods for several reason, including to increase shelf life or provide smoother textures. Nearly 400,000 women die of heart disease each year — it’s the leading killer of women and men in the U.S. The new federal mandate on trans fats is why proponents of the measure are giving it high praise. The decision “is probably the single most important thing the FDA has ever done for the healthfulness of the food supply,” said Michael Jacobsen, the director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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