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Trans-Fats and Inflammation

By Elaine Moore on 2/8/2009

In July 2008, New York City banned the city's restaurants from using trans-fats in oils used in cooking. With this change, restaurant food in New York City is at last free of trans-fats. In 2006, the city passed a law banning food made with trans-fats.

Other cities, such as Philadelphia and Boston, have followed New York's lead. The reason for the ban on trans-fats was largely due to evidence that trans-fats clog arteries and lead to atherosclerosis.

What are Trans-Fats?

Trans-fats are trans-fatty acids or partially hydrogenated fats. These substances, which were first used in margarine, are produced by adding hydrogen to fats in an effort to extend shelf-life and prevent rancidity. Our bodies lack the enzymes necessary to break down these plastic-like fats and they remain in the body unless they adhere to fiber and are excreted in stools. Without ample fibers, trans fats form sludge in our arteries and store fat-soluble toxins while assaulting our immune systems.

For those of us with autoimmune diseases, avoiding trans-fats is of even greater importance. Trans-fats are synthetic compounds that the body recognizes as foreign. Trans-fats quickly cause inflammation in the body and contribute to autoimmune diseases.

Dietary fats are important sources of energy. A good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 oils help us produce protaglandins, which are our body's own natural analgesics.

Today's diet is low in omega-3 oils, and supplements of omega-3 rich fish oils are recommended for people with autoimmune diseases to help correct the balance.

By restoring this balance and eliminating trans-fats from our diets, we can help protect our immune systems and reduce the burden caused by pain and inflammation.


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