Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 AHA/ACC Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Guidelines - Drug Companies Win Again

Last week the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) published new updated guidelines in the journal Circulation for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals [1]. Their goals aim to "prevent cardiovascular (CV) diseases, improve the management of people who have these diseases through professional education and research, and develop guidelines, standards and policies that promote optimal patient care and cardiovascular health".

To accomplish these commendable goals, AHA/ACC targets better management of blood cholesterol levels, overweight and obesity in adults, and provides information on lifestyle modifications [2]. They also provide extensive guidelines on the use of cholesterol-lowering medications, mainly the statins [1].

After reading through the updated guidelines it is clear to me that the state of cardiovascular health, as it stands currently in the United States today, will remain dismal at best. The chance of heart disease and strokes being displaced as the number one and number four leading causes of death in the U.S. [3] are slim to none. Here's why...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eliminating Trans Fats - Another Government Mandate?

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Last week the FDA took initial steps that will eliminate trans fats from all foods.  Food scientists and others can respond to this mandate to the FDA over the next 60 days.  This will help the FDA determine when to phase out all trans fats since manufacturers may need to reformulate some of their products. After that, food manufacturers will need to petition the FDA to allow trans fats in a particular product. 

By forcing hydrogen atoms into vegetable oil and changing its molecular structure, trans fats are created. This saturates the oils and makes them solid. Trans fats improve the texture and extend the shelf life of manufactured food products. (Have you ever seen a moldy Twinkie?) Among the foods trans fats are commonly found in are frozen pizzas, frostings, popcorn, snack foods, crackers, pizza and cookie dough, stick margarine, cake mixes, fried foods, muffins, pies, cookies, and other baked goods. Most experts consider trans fats as the most damaging fat to our health. Clinical trials have shown trans fats to increase the risk of a heart attack and premature cardiovascular death. Our body metabolizes trans fats differently than other fats and is linked to liver dysfunction.