Alzhemier's risk may be 75% higher for people who eat trans fats

Posted Wednesday, 23 October 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)People with higher levels of trans fats in their blood may be 50% to 75% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia from any cause, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology."This study demonstrates that there are negative 'brain/cognitive' outcomes, in addition to the known cardiovascular outcomes, that are related to a diet that has (a) high content of trans fats," said neurologist Dr. Neelum T. Aggarwal, who was not involved in the study. Aggarwal, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, is co-leader of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago.A significant studyOver 1,600 Japanese men and women without dementia were followed over a 10-year period. A blood test for trans fat levels was done at the start of the study and their diets were analyzed. Researchers then adjusted for other factors that could affect the risk of dementia, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. They found that people with the two highest levels of trans fats were 52% and 74% more likely to develop dementia than those with the lowest levels."The study used blood marker levels of trans fats, rather than more traditionally used dietary questionnaires, which increases the scientific validity of the results," said neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York."This study is important as it builds upon prior evidence that dietary intake of trans fats can increase risk of Alzheimer's dementia," said Isaacson, who was also not involved in the study.What are trans fatsTrans fats can occur naturally in small amounts in certain meat and dairy foods, but by far the greatest exposure comes from the man-made version.Also called trans fatty acids, artificial trans fats are created by an industrialized process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid (think of semi-soft margarine and shortening). The food industry loves trans fats because they are cheap to produce, last a long time and give foods a great taste and texture. Besides fried foods, trans fats are found in coffee creamer, cakes, pie crusts, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, biscuits and dozens of other processed foods. In the Japanese study, researchers found sweet pastries were the strongest contributor to higher trans fats levels. Margarine was next, followed by candies, caramels, croissants, non-dairy creamers, ice cream and rice crackers.US regulatory actionAfter extensive research revealed the connection between trans fats and the increase of bad cholesterol (LDL), combined with a reduction of good cholesterol (HDL), the US Food and Drug Administration banned trans fats in 2015. Companies were given three years to stop using them; then the FDA began granting extensions to various parts of the industry. The latest extension runs out January 1.But even if every manufacturer complies by the first of the year, that doesn't mean trans fats are gone from the grocery shelves. According to the FDA, if one serving of the food contains less than 0.5 grams, companies can label the food as "0 grams" of trans fats.Even in small doses, artificial trans fats will still be around to contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other conditions, such as dementia."In the United States, the small amounts still allowed in foods can really add up if people eat multiple servings of these foods, and trans fats are still allowed in many other countries," said study author Dr. Toshiharu Ninomiya, a professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, in a statement."People at risk still need to pay careful attention to nutrition labels," Isaacson said. "When it comes to nutrition labels, the fewer ingredients, the better! Focus on natural whole food, and minimize or avoid those that are highly processed." Aggarwal added: "This message must be delivered in countries where the ban of trans fats has not been enacted or difficult to enforce."

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Tess Taylor is the author of the poetry collections "Work & Days" and "The Forage House." She has two forthcoming books of poetry about California, "Rift Zone" and "Last West." Views expressed in this commentary are solely hers. Read more opinion...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Igor Fruman, the Soviet-born South Florida businessman at the center of a federal campaign finance probe involving the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, said he put more than $300,000 in political donations on company credit cards in...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)An inmate who escaped from a Missouri jail in September has been caught in a Delaware bunker he made of foliage around a fallen tree, according to the US Marshals Service.Drake Kately was found near New Castle on Tuesday, marshals said, after he...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Anne Sabol's cul-de-sac in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is fairly quiet. Well, it was, until a dog hopped in its owner's running car, kicked it in reverse, drove in circles for an hour and smashed a neighbor's mailbox before safely exiting the...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)American regulators voted to impose new restrictions on subsidies for American telecom companies Friday. The ruling is designed to constrain Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE.The FCC's decision will prohibit American...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Three years after chants of "build that wall" became a rallying cry for the candidacy of Donald Trump, his administration is engaged in an increasingly aggressive land grab along the Southwest border to make a new wall a reality, a CNN review of...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Christopher Bail is the director of the Polarization Lab at Duke University. Follow him on Twitter @chris_bail. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN. (CNN)As Republicans and Democrats continue to sort themselves...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Bumble Bee Foods filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, blaming its "recent and significant legal challenges." Taiwanese fish supply chain company FCF Co. plans to put in a $925 million bid for the assets. The deal is expected to be...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

London (CNN Business)An Indian cafe chain popular for its chai drinks is under fire for using facial recognition software to bill its customers, with some taking to social media to express their anger at what they say is a loss of privacy. Nikhil Pahwa,...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)On a recent Friday afternoon in West Philadelphia, two police officers arrive at the corner of 52nd and Market Streets. A loud commotion ensues, attracting the attention of passers-by. A crowd gathers, some taking photos and video with their...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Rock-bottom interest rates have pumped up stock prices, knocked down mortgage rates and supported the creation of countless unicorns in Silicon Valley. Savers, on the other hand, have been crushed by near-zero rates.Some of those...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump suggested Friday that he's open to his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, leaving the administration to pursue a Senate seat in Kansas "if he thought that there was a chance of losing that seat."Trump told "Fox and...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It's rare to find an almost-perfect copy of Marvel Comics' first comic book, aptly named "Marvel Comics 1." But one in near-mint condition just sold for a record $1.26 million.It's the "finest known copy" of the comic book, according to Heritage...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)After "Frozen" hit theaters in 2013, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon.It inspired Olaf merchandise, theme park rides, and a Broadway show. The theme song "Let It Go," was such an earworm that one of the film's directors...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN)The United Nations has temporarily suspended its work with the Central African Republic branch of Caritas Internationalis after it emerged that the director of the Catholic charity there was a convicted pedophile. The decision by the UN...