Kudos to the FDA on Their Trans Fat Decision

Kudos to the FDA on Their Trans Fat Decision

As I’m sure many of you have heard, the FDA has decided to ban trans fats in our foods. While many have scarcely commented on this laudable action, I think we should take a step back and look at the implications of this.

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that has undergone a process called hydrogenation in a process that dates back to the early 20th century. One of the earliest trans fats to enter the American marketplace was Crisco, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil which appeared in 1911. The process allowed the creation of fats that resisted rancidity and had incredibly long shelf lives.

The concern regarding the damaging effects of trans fats on the coronary arteries began to surface as early as 1956, but nevertheless, various trans fat “butter substitutes” were heavily promoted until only quite recently.

The data linking trans fats to coronary artery disease is profound. So much so that these days we can in fact all say, “I can believe it’s not butter!”

I think the FDA’s decision is breathtaking in its implication. Obviously there was great pushback by industry, but in the end, sound science and the sense of “doing the right thing” seems to have prevailed. What the public needs to recognize is that while trans fats are clearly dangerous, we shouldn’t castigate all fats. Wonderful natural, unmodified fats are so vital for general health and brain health in particular.

For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

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  • Frenchi

    I totally agree! Not sure I would have been so convinced had I not read Grain Brain! Thanks again Dr. Perlmutter for sharing your
    amazing knowledge!

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for reading, glad we’re on the same page!

  • http://ideaapps2cash.com Marie Ysais

    Loved your book! My question is if they are banning it does that mean all of the products with Trans Fat be banned as well? Will we see the shelves clear out with the products that have trans fat? Does it matter how much trans fat?

  • luluswish

    I feel much better eating the Grain Brain way, Dr. Permutter! I am behind you 100%! My brain and body thank you!

    • David Perlmutter

      So glad to hear that, and thanks for your support!

      • luluswish

        Can you share with me what a typical day of eating looks like for you?

  • mrjcleaver

    What I didn’t realise (For just this week I’d asked Philadelphia Cream Cheese – see picture – to remove trans fat…) is that some natural trans fats are healthy.

    Quoting http://chriskresser.com/can-some-trans-fats-be-healthy ” Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a trans-rumenic acid that is found abundantly in grass-fed meat and dairy products, and to a lesser degree in grain-fed products. ”

    “And since CLA is in the fat, the best sources will be fattier cuts of meat, bone marrow, high-fat dairy products like butter and whole milk, and full fat cheeses.”

    So, rather than banning all trans fats, it seems the FDA needs to separate CLA from industrial trans fats in labelling. How confusing!

    • mrjcleaver

      BTW… I only found out that I’d consumed any transfats thanks to myfitnesspal, which very cleverly lets you barcode scan everything you eat!

    • mrjcleaver

      On this same vein, http://chriskresser.com/can-some-trans-fats-be-healthy#comment-30796

      “So now that you know some of the incredible benefits of natural trans fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid (VA), how can you increase them in your diet?

      Actually, I find the benefits of CLA to be quite credible!

      Pomeganate seed oil is 70% punicic acid CLnA (congugated linolenic acid) which has the same 9cis 11trans configuration as ruminant CLA as well as a 13trans double bond. It has beneficial effects itself, and some is converted in the body to 9cis 11trans CLA.
      It has many of the effects of CLA and there are animal studies showing reduction of colitis.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21161605
      http://www.lipidworld.com/content/3/1/24

    • mrjcleaver

      Also, says wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugated_linoleic_acid#cite_ref-4), in healthy humans, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and CLNA (conjugated linolenic acid) isomers are bioconverted from linoleic acid and alpha-Linolenic acid, respectively, mainly by Bifidobacterium bacteria strains inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract, however this bioconversion may not occur at any significant level in those with a digestive disease, gluten sensitivity and/ordysbiosis.[2][3][4][5]

      The gluten sensitivity angle is very curious!

  • Margaret

    Dr. Perlmutter,
    I am wondering if there is any positive relationship between a gluten free diet and Raynaud’s disease.

    • David Perlmutter

      Yes. Raynauds is autoimmune so may respond to GFD>

  • justamom

    WAIT! You want the government to control what we eat, good or bad?? Ridiculous. We have brains…right?

    • Regina Peterson

      If commercial entities had the consumers health in mind then the government wouldn’t have to be involved. Do you think they would even label food with ingredients without government regulations??! I eat processed food rarely but I would like to know exactly what is in my food. I think all people should be able to eat that “food” and know that those ingredients (that are sometimes hard to pronounce and most people have no clue what they are) are not slowly poisoning us…..

  • Lynn Dell

    Back in the day, Kenneth Cooper and others promoted aerobic fitness and a diet rich in antioxidants, and good for him, because we needed to understand the importance of aerobic fitness as it impacts our health. I remember one of his books being promoted by a margarine company – a product I used to purchase and use, as did my mother. Talk about three steps forward, and two or more steps back!

    It must have been some kind of intuition, because around the age of 30 I began to notice some swelling in my fingers, and around that time I switched back to butter. The swelling went away. I still used Crisco for many years, though, but have recently stopped using that as well.

  • Em Ily

    It is my understanding companies are going to replace trans fat with some other type of lab oil. There are tons of unsafe ingredients that the government approves (artificial sweeteners for example). The government seems to be saying that consumers are too stupid to make their own decisions. This is just the beginning. BTW..what about cigarettes?
    Where will this type of government control end?

    • Halle Lu Ya

      Ah – cigarettes. Not only does the smoke harm the smoker but all those around him or her. It is still sad to see the number of teens smoking. It can be a hard habit to break but it is not impossible. I disagree that the government thinks we are stupid – my comment above addresses my thoughts.

    • Marcus Kool

      In general, people are not stupid. But people make decisions based on what they see, read and hear. And if they hear the wrong message over and over and from government bodies and their own docters, 99% thinks it is a good decision to lower cholesterol, bad butter and use the bad plant oils. So there is a battle to win, a battle about proper education of docters and proper information in the media. Only this way most people will make the right decisions.

  • Lisa “marathon mama”

    Can’t wait to hear your take on the latest revision in the prescription of statins!

  • Dan

    Hello Doctor P, I am a new subscriber and wanted to know if you were familiar with a drug called Lovesta, made by Amarin. It is prescription fish oil used to lower triglycerides in patients with extremely high levels.If so, what is your opinion?

    • David Perlmutter

      Hi Dan. I think you are referring to Lovaza. It is a reasonable source of DHA and it is actually covered by some insurance plans.

  • justmeint
  • Francesca A. Verri Gove

    Great post Dr Perlmutter and I agree, kudos to the FDA. While I think it is great that there is a ban on the trans fats, I am not sure it totally teaches the “why” they are so bad and that is what I wish got across to people. Many people were just upset that the gov’t made a decision for their health and don’t really understand why it’s so good. Unfortunately, the ban also doesn’t prevent people from eating the kind of food that promotes so many health issues. In all, I am glad people who eat fast food or “out” often aren’t being poisoned by trans fat. I just wish the gov’t was smart enough to send the correct message about how to eat healthy: good, nutrient dense, local whole foods — vegetables, fruits, good fats and good sources of protein. Dr. Perlmutter, I listened to your talk on The Gluten Free Summit. You’re brilliant and I appreciate your passion and knowledge on teaching people about the dangers of grains. Kudos to you!! Francesca

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad we agree. Thanks for tuning in for the Summit as well. Incredible to see the response we’re getting.

  • Martha Werman

    I thought of your book when I heard that. Very happy to hear it! At the same time, I heard on the radio that “they” are pushing an increase in statins to lower cholesterol…I believe this is pharmaceutical desperation, no?

  • skipgalt@hotmail.com

    I have just finished reading Grain Brain and truly enjoyed the refreshing viewpoints. I am having problems squaring the huge gap between FDA/American Heart Association guidelines and the books position on Statins and Cholesterol. But, the latest FDA guidelines do seem to be moving in a direction that is closer to Dr Perlmutter’s position. 1 year ago my doctor measured LDL at 178, weight 195, and bp=170/100. After 8 months of low carb diet, lots of vegetables, and some meats,I was at LDL=142, weight=165, bp=125/85, eliminating all risks except LDL. So, my doctor is still recommending Statins. I am hoping the new FDA guidelines will change that and, although this is contrary to my character, I may have to go against Doctor recommendations and still not take statins so I can say no to item #15 on Dr Perlmutter’s self assessment. Is that a good choice?

    Hard to choose when you see THIS on the FDA web site:
    This new information should not scare people off statins, says Amy G. Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for safety in FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). “The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,” she says. “Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”

    Skip Galt

    • Jan in KW

      Skip,
      You might ask your doctor for an advanced lipoprotein analysis….a NMR lipoprofile or apoprotein B test to check your LDL values.

      • skipgalt@hotmail.com

        Thank you Jan,
        I will definately investigate the advanced panel. I am an engineer. More data good!

  • Jan in KW

    My major concern is that the public will not discern between trans fats and saturated fats.

  • Sarah McFadden Marks

    Just finished “Grain Brain” and I feel better! I’ve gone on and off the Atkins diet over the years and even though I felt vastly better when I was “on” the diet (losing weight, body aches miraculously gone, happier), I’d get lectured by my doctor about how I was destroying my health. (I’ve been avoiding her for a few years now.) I think it’s time to find one that’s still open to continued learning. I’ll also be purchasing your book for my mom. Hopefully, I can get her to stop listening to the doc that is damaging her brain with the statins and low fat diet.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thank you Sarah. I’m glad to hear you are finding the way to better health with Grain Brain.

  • ruthhummel7

    Looks like we NEED our government to educate and protect…remember
    you are the government. Be a solution, not a problem…

  • Nan239

    Doctor, someone I care about was diagnosed with small fiber neuropathy. Do you think that a gluten free diet would help?

  • RICHARD KUSHINSKY

    DR PERLMUTTER, I’VE READ YOUR BOOK 2 TIMES AND GO BACK AND FORTH THROUGH IT TO MAKE SURE I’M FOLLOWING THE CORRECT PROTOCALL. I STOPPED EATING TRANSFATS SOME TIME AGO. I’M 80 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN TAKING STATINS FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS[15+] MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS UNDER CONTROL WITH MEDICATION,120/70. I TALKED TO MY CARDIOLOGIST ABOUT YOUR BOOK. HE PROMISED TO READ IT. HE FEELS WITH THE LAW THE WAY IT IS HE CAN’T ADVISE HIS PATIENTS NOT TO TAKE STATINS[N.J.] I FEEL THAT ALTHOUGH I’M FOLLOWING THE CONCEPTS OF THE BOOK TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY,[HAVE LOST 20 LBS, SPEND 45 TO 60 MINUTES IN THE GYM, STOPPED ALMOST ALL GLUTEN PRODUCTS, NO SUGAR EXCEPT WHATEVER MAY BE IN MY 90% LINDT CHOCOLATE[2SQUARES A DAY] I’M AFRAID TO STOP TAKING MY STATINS. WHAT SHOULD BE THE PROTOCOL FOR STOPPING STATINS AT MY AGE? ARE THERE MORE DETAILED BLOOD TESTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO MAKE THAT DETERMINATION. I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN, SOME OF MY YOUNGER FRIENDS HAVE STARTED TO LISTEN AND PERHAPS WE’LL BE ABLE TO FIND GRASS RAISED BEEF IN THE LOCAL FOOD MARKETS. THANKS FOR YOUR WISDOM

    • mooksmom

      Like you, I have changed my diet to gluten free, as per the Grain Brain. I have also started back exercising every day that it is sunny and not raining, as I have back and hip problems at age 60. I, will NOT give up my 2-3 Ghirardelli squares/daily. If they impede my living any happier than I do now, so be it…it’s NOT such a fun ‘ride’ most days as it is. They say old age is not for ‘weenies’ and I am in complete agreement with ‘them’…ESP post menopausal!

    • yvonneforsman

      I was on statin (simvastatin) for a few years, until I read online how bad it is for me, so I just stopped taking it, several years ago (I am now 58). I am fine! But my cholesterol is fine b/c I now take 1 tbs flax oil daily. I have to admit I do not trust most doctors b/c all they do is to prescribe pills, which all have side effects!!! Their nutrition education equals to 2 (two) hours! What do they know?! It is my health, my body, I do as I plese, not as some doc says. This does not relate to Dr Perlmutter. I have the Grain Brain book also.

    • Marcus Kool

      Hello Richard, I am 50 and changed my diet to “free of wheat” 5 weeks ago. Various sources say that a little wheat each week is harmful so I recommend to change the “ALMOST ALL GLUTEN PRODUCTS” into “ALL GLUTEN PRODUCTS”. Also, like Dr Perlmutter states, many studies show that cholesterol is good and a higher level of cholesterol is linked with better health. I recommened to test your cholesterol level and stop with statins. And allow the level to go up to 240. Studies show less strokes and better (brain) health.

  • Pat

    Dr Perlmutter I would like to see you answer some of the more in depth questions, such as the one by the 80 + yr old that was wondering about stopping statin, and the asking about certain diseases, instead of the same “Thanks for reading, glad we’re on the same page”. I love your book & my husband & I follow the wheat free lifestyle. Thanks

  • Halle Lu Ya

    Well – I have been celiac and on a strict gluten free diet for 22 years. I don’t buy much ready made food, even if it is gluten free. I have been able to avoid trans fats for a long time. I agree with comments made about the government helping – education needs to happen. Now 22 years ago, there was no labeling law, no one saying much about food additives. Look how much progress HAS been made by FDA and USDA because people speak up. Consumer education – it is paid attention to because companies won’t be able to sell products without it. Kudos to the FDA regarding trans fats. Now if we can get rid of high fructose corn syrup (although many smaller brand companies have) in products, as well as NutraSweet and Splenda – that would be nice. For those that can’t have sugar due to diabetes, etc., – I think that Stevia is a good alternative. Some say no but it doesn’t make me want to eat more and consume additional sweets. What do you think about that Dr. Perlmutter?
    A Happy and Healthy New Year to all!