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Going Trans Fat Free: January 8, 2014

After undergoing open-heart surgery ten years ago, James Fain changed his ways.

“It has been a positive thing for me to keep myself healthy. So I say that not in jest, I say I do read the labels – I try to make sure most of the things I eat or buy are relatively healthy for me,” says Fain.

Trans fats are something he chooses to live without.

“What they are is the hardening fats that get into your veins,” says Fain.

“Trans fats are chemically modified oils. So you start out with a vegetable oil and it goes through a chemical modification where they actually add these hydrogen modules to it. It’s like a preservative, it changes the texture and flavor of the foods,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, VP health and wellness with Lee Memorial Health System.

The trouble with trans fat: it increases the risk of heart disease. The FDA believes banning it could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year. So the agency is taking steps to eliminate it from the US food supply.

“We know that trans fats cause cardiovascular disease. So we have to be able to say we can’t expose our population,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

Trans fat is already be phased out, but it’s still found in some brands of microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, margarines, canned frosting and coffee creamers - which may prompt more people to read labels.

“The more foods are processed and the more they’ve been changed, the more unhealthy they become,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

Removing these unnatural fats from our diet- shouldn’t leave anyone heart-broken.