SEATTLE, Nov. 2, 2006 -- This week, when Kentucky Fried Chicken announced it was using trans-fat-free oil in its fried chicken, it was a major news story and seen as a move toward healthier foods.
As a way to localize this newsworthy national news, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I) Consumer Health Reporter Susan Phinney interviewed Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute (SHVI) Cardiologist Sarah Speck, M.D., on the clinical evidence showing the negative toll that even small amounts of trans fats can have on people's heart health.
Dr. Speck, who is medical director of SHVI's Center for CardioVascular Wellness, was uniquely qualified to be interviewed on this topic since she's been asking patients to omit fats from their diets since 1990. "If the fat is solid at room temperature, it should be off the table," Dr. Speck said. Acceptable fats, she said, are olive or canola oils, or omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in salmon.
Dr. Speck said it's very difficult to avoid trans fats, and even small amounts are harmful to your health. She said trans fats scrape the inside of the blood vessels, causing inflammation. "Inflammation is the environment in which cholesterol plaque can start to accumulate. ... If you keep eating those foods, it's like scratching the back of your hand over and over," Dr. Speck said.
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