BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhuanet)
-- Researchers reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine that
they have found higher doses of trans fats content in US fast-food chains'
products than their counterparts in other countries.
|Fast-food gets you fat faster.(file
It was estimated a few years ago that trans fats
prematurely killed 30,000 to 75,000 Americans a year, though the number may
have fallen due to changes some packaged-food companies made in
the use of healthier oils.
The researchers believed the main culprit to the death
toll was the type of frying oil used. This partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil is high in trans fats and has been injected with
hydrogen to harden it and give it a longer shelf life.
Researchers tested products from the chains' outlets in
dozens of countries in 2004 and 2005, analyzing McDonald's chicken nuggets, KFC
hot wings, and the two chains' fried potatoes.
For example, they found a large
fries-and-chicken-nuggets combo at a New York City McDonald's contains 10.2
grams of the trans fat, as compared to 0.33 grams in Denmark and about
3 grams in Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic.
"I was very surprised to see a difference in trans
fatty acids in these uniform products," said one of the
Trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good
cholesterol. Eating just 5 grams of it per day increases the risk of heart
disease 25 percent, research shows.
Switching to liquid vegetable oils such as canola,
corn, olive or soy eliminates the trans fat, as has been done in Denmark under a
2004 law allowing only a minuscule amount of trans fat in foods.
Experts said many U.S. restaurants still use partially
hydrogenated vegetable oil to save money because it does not spoil and can be
used over and over for frying.
Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center
for Science in the Public Interest, said his group has petitioned the Food and
Drug Administration(FDA) to drastically limit the use of trans fats and require
restaurant menus to note foods containing trans fat.
He said FDA is still reviewing the petitions, "even though
they agree it's killing thousands of people a year." Enditem