BOSTON, MASS – Although small amounts of trans fat are naturally found in dairy and meat products, the origin of the trans fat problem goes back to the development of margarine as a cheap alternative to butter. In the early 1900s, food chemists discovered that, through a process called hydrogenation, they could convert healthy vegetable oil into a new type of fat that could remain solid at room temperature and stay on the shelf longer. This new type of fat — trans fat — is the unhealthiest of all fats.
Trans fats are a double whammy to your arteries, according to the March 2004 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch . Trans fat raises LDL cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol — the worst possible combination. Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimate that trans fat consumption is responsible for at least 30,000 premature heart disease deaths annually in the United States .
Harvard Women's Health Watch recommends these strategies for lowering your trans fat intake:
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