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What ARE trans fats?

Hmmmm...seems kind of like the definition of each is vague. Is there any set NUMBER of hydrogen double-bonds that need to be formed in order for a fatty acid to be deemed "saturated?" If that's the case, then I would think there may be poor classification of fatty acids in many foods where the chains are semi-saturated or something......polyunsaturated maybe?

And of course, there's monounsatured...

In other words, I'm just wondering what accounts for the slight differences in the quantity of double bonds within one classification...so there might be an instance where some saturated fats are more saturated than others?

This is why I avoid chemistry... :D

Saturated = No double bonds

Mono-Unsaturated = One double bond

Poly-Unsaturated = Lots of double bonds

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I agree completely with Nick on this issue. If the labels and nutrition books in your country really do list trans-fats as saturated, then that's a very unfortunate "dumbing-down", in my opinion. Do they think the average consumer is simply too ignorant to really understand the differences between them, so they just lump them both together into one category?? If so, I'm shocked by that...

I don't think it's because they believe the consumer is too ignorant, they want just the laws be strict about artificial trans fats and therefore natural occuring trans fats are not considered trans PUFA

I want them to be strict about trans fat, too. I want them to call it what it is, not what it isn't. Trans fats aren't saturated, they're unsaturated!

There's been a lot of discussion on this forum about the possible harmful effects of other substances in milk, too, like added bovine growth hormones, synthetic antibiotics, trace levels of pus remaining in the milk, etc. Wouldn't it be funny if your country decided to simplify things even further by including all of THOSE items in the "saturated fat" category, too, along with trans fat? Would that finally be going too far? ;)

Bryan

There is actually a very good reason for classifying trans fats as saturated fats. As any scientist knows there is a HUGE difference between chemistry and biochemistry. Chemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vitro, whereas biochemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vivo. So, in the world of chemistry, a trans fat would be classified as an unsaturated fat, but in the world of biochemistry, a trans fat (made artificially, as most trans fats are...natural fats are generally cis) is grouped with the saturated fats, because in the human body, a trans fat will act more like a saturated fat (as its properties are more similar to that of a saturated fat....in vivo) than an unsaturated fat.

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There is actually a very good reason for classifying trans fats as saturated fats. As any scientist knows there is a HUGE difference between chemistry and biochemistry. Chemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vitro, whereas biochemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vivo. So, in the world of chemistry, a trans fat would be classified as an unsaturated fat, but in the world of biochemistry, a trans fat (made artificially, as most trans fats are...natural fats are generally cis) is grouped with the saturated fats, because in the human body, a trans fat will act more like a saturated fat (as its properties are more similar to that of a saturated fat....in vivo) than an unsaturated fat.

Wait a sec. The difference in behavior is that saturated fats, due to the fact that the molecules are perfectly straight and can easily align, are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats, because of the little kinks formed by the double bonds, can't align straight and so are liquid at room temperature. Trans fats are generally hydrogenated specifically so that they will solidify at room temperature, like saturated fats. This isn't a difference in behavior in the body but not in vitro. It's a difference in behavior that will manifest anywhere.

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There is actually a very good reason for classifying trans fats as saturated fats. As any scientist knows there is a HUGE difference between chemistry and biochemistry. Chemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vitro, whereas biochemistry is based on the way reactions proceed in vivo. So, in the world of chemistry, a trans fat would be classified as an unsaturated fat, but in the world of biochemistry, a trans fat (made artificially, as most trans fats are...natural fats are generally cis) is grouped with the saturated fats, because in the human body, a trans fat will act more like a saturated fat (as its properties are more similar to that of a saturated fat....in vivo) than an unsaturated fat.

Wait a sec. The difference in behavior is that saturated fats, due to the fact that the molecules are perfectly straight and can easily align, are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats, because of the little kinks formed by the double bonds, can't align straight and so are liquid at room temperature. Trans fats are generally hydrogenated specifically so that they will solidify at room temperature, like saturated fats. This isn't a difference in behavior in the body but not in vitro. It's a difference in behavior that will manifest anywhere.

Trans fats and saturated fats raise LDL and lower HDL, therefore they are grouped together becuase their intake should be limited. Unsaturated fats have the opposite effect on the human body...they can lower LDL and raise HDL.

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There is no scientific reasoning for it, trans fats don't act like saturated fats in vivo, if they did there wouldn't be a problem would there? it has nothing to do with bio/chemistry, its becuase your looking at scientific data in a supermarket not a library. Also as far as im aware transfats aren't listed on most products (in UK) there just omited its one of the reasons the fat column rarely adds up.

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There is no scientific reasoning for it, trans fats don't act like saturated fats in vivo, if they did there wouldn't be a problem would there? it has nothing to do with bio/chemistry, its becuase your looking at scientific data in a supermarket not a library. Also as far as im aware transfats aren't listed on most products (in UK) there just omited its one of the reasons the fat column rarely adds up.

It has everything to do with biochemistry...my scientific data doesn't come from a supermarket, it comes from my two BSc degrees, and straight from the mouth of a biochemistry professor. I'm not here to argue with anyone, I'm just trying to explain why the two types of fats are grouped together. They are grouped together because they raise LDL and their intake should be limited!!! The fact that they raise LDL and lower HDL is the only important fact to consider when reading the labels on your food to decide what to eat...hence they are grouped together. You cannot put trans fats in the unsaturated fat group (even though from a chemistry standpoint they are unsaturated) because unsaturated fats lower LDL and raise HDL. Therefore, the labels are made based on biochemistry and NOT chemistry, because that is what is relevant to the consumer.

This is why I tend to avoid this whole forum...there is a huge clash between people who learn about science from their local health food store or the internet, and people who are university educated.

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I'm just trying to explain why the two types of fats are grouped together. They are grouped together because they raise LDL and their intake should be limited!!!

After thinking about it some more, I suppose I don't really care if they're "grouped together", as long as no implication is made that they are the same thing, or that one is a subgroup of the other. An earlier poster seemed to imply that in his country, the label did just that.

I still think that your attempt to draw a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry in this context is ridiculous.

Bryan

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I'm just trying to explain why the two types of fats are grouped together. They are grouped together because they raise LDL and their intake should be limited!!!

After thinking about it some more, I suppose I don't really care if they're "grouped together", as long as no implication is made that they are the same thing, or that one is a subgroup of the other. An earlier poster seemed to imply that in his country, the label did just that.

I still think that your attempt to draw a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry in this context is ridiculous.

Bryan

I wasn't trying to make a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry! :wall: I was saying that the fats can be grouped together due to biochemical studies that show how the fats act in the human body when they are metabolized (i.e. raising LDL) versus grouping them together based on structure (i.e. the fact that trans fats are unsaturated) as would be done in chemistry.

I do agree however, that a distinction should be made on labels between saturated fats and trans fats, which is now the case in the U.S. due to the FDA. A distinction needs to be made between the two types of fats because not only do trans fats raise LDL, but they lower HDL (with the exception of CLAs).

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t has everything to do with biochemistry...my scientific data doesn't come from a supermarket, it comes from my two BSc degrees, and straight from the mouth of a biochemistry professor

I didn't say that your scientific data did, i said the scientific data WRITTEN ON THE LABEL IN THE SUPERMARKET, AS OPPOSED TO IN A BOOK FROM A LIBRARY.

I'm not here to argue with anyone, I'm just trying to explain why the two types of fats are grouped together. They are grouped together because they raise LDL and their intake should be limited!!

Should we lump carboydrates with saturated fats becuase they raise to triglyrecides and should be limited? your logic does not add up and just becuase a professor says it, DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE, how in the hell does he know the rational behind the decision to lump trans fats with saturated fats that was made in a different country, more than likely behind closed doors? by people he has never met? Does his phd make him a mind reader? i think not. The fact that saturated fats are bad for health is complete nonsense, so lumping them together becuase they're both bad is nonsensical.

Actually i doubt that "trans" and saturated are even lumped together, its more likely danny got his wires crossed (happy to be corrected on this and no-offence danny) so how your so called proffesor knows the rational behind a decision THAT IS UNLIKELY TO HAVE EVEN TOOK PLACE is even more baffelling.

The fact that they raise LDL and lower HDL is the only important fact to consider when reading the labels on your food to decide what to eat...

That's completely untrue, i have no problems with cholesterol, yet i am very interested in the ammount and types of fat in my food.

I was saying that the fats can be grouped together due to biochemical studies that show how the fats act in the human body when they are metabolized

They have hugely different physlogical affects.

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t has everything to do with biochemistry...my scientific data doesn't come from a supermarket, it comes from my two BSc degrees, and straight from the mouth of a biochemistry professor

I didn't say that your scientific data did, i said the scientific data WRITTEN ON THE LABEL IN THE SUPERMARKET, AS OPPOSED TO IN A BOOK FROM A LIBRARY.

I'm not here to argue with anyone, I'm just trying to explain why the two types of fats are grouped together. They are grouped together because they raise LDL and their intake should be limited!!

Should we lump carboydrates with saturated fats becuase they raise to triglyrecides and should be limited? your logic does not add up and just becuase a professor says it, DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE, how in the hell does he know the rational behind the decision to lump trans fats with saturated fats that was made in a different country, more than likely behind closed doors? by people he has never met? Does his phd make him a mind reader? i think not. The fact that saturated fats are bad for health is complete nonsense, so lumping them together becuase they're both bad is nonsensical.

Actually i doubt that "trans" and saturated are even lumped together, its more likely danny got his wires crossed (happy to be corrected on this and no-offence danny) so how your so called proffesor knows the rational behind a decision THAT IS UNLIKELY TO HAVE EVEN TOOK PLACE is even more baffelling.

The fact that they raise LDL and lower HDL is the only important fact to consider when reading the labels on your food to decide what to eat...

That's completely untrue, i have no problems with cholesterol, yet i am very interested in the ammount and types of fat in my food.

I was saying that the fats can be grouped together due to biochemical studies that show how the fats act in the human body when they are metabolized

They have hugely different physlogical affects.

WOW. You are obviously completely uneducated on this subject and not worth arguing with. It is a FACT that BOTH saturated and trans fats raise the level of low density lipoproteins (cholesterol TRANSPORTERS) in the blood (hence the reason they are sometimes grouped together). Where I'm from, these fats ARE grouped together, however, a distinction is made between the two. Trans fats also lower high density lipoproteins ("good" cholesterol) in the blood (which would be the hugely different physiological effect that I assume you were referring to), which is why in the U.S. there is a distinction now made between saturated and trans fats on labels. Unsaturated fats can raise high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol) and should make up the majority of the fats you consume (60 to 90%). I did not say that saturated and trans fats should be completely avoided...just LIMITED. Check your facts sweety...I'm not going to try to convince you anymore.

Cholesterol is an important building block for cell membranes, and is essential to life, and I didn't imply that it should be eliminated from the diet, but due to the way that trans fats and saturated fats (although to a lesser extent than trans fats) alter the way the body DEALS with cholesterol, these fats should be limited(except CLAs...as I stated above).

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I didn't read all the posts, but obviously some people already know that 0g trans fat does not actually mean none. It just means it has .49g or less per serving.

It's funny though. There's this brand of cookies that has about 412mg of trans fat per cookie...to get around this they list the serving size as 1 cookie and thus can label it 0g trans fat. If the serving size was 2 cookies, the box would have to say 1g trans fat. Of course the best way to avoid this fiasco is to look for the words "partially hydrogenated" "hydrogenated" and "shortening." It's not a guarantee, but with those words in there it pretty much guarantees trans fat.

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I wasn't trying to make a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry! :wall:

It sounds to ME like that's what you're doing.

I was saying that the fats can be grouped together due to biochemical studies that show how the fats act in the human body when they are metabolized (i.e. raising LDL) versus grouping them together based on structure (i.e. the fact that trans fats are unsaturated) as would be done in chemistry.

As if biochemists aren't interested in structure, but chemists are! :D

Look, if anybody at all (chemist, biochemist, hairdresser, garbage truck driver) makes a list titled "Foods That Make Your LDL Go Up", then saturated fats and trans-fats will probably appear together on that list. But it's naive of you to imply that chemists are ONLY interested in their structure, and biochemists are ONLY interested in their effect on blood lipids when consumed! ;)

Bryan

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I wasn't trying to make a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry! :wall:

It sounds to ME like that's what you're doing.

I was saying that the fats can be grouped together due to biochemical studies that show how the fats act in the human body when they are metabolized (i.e. raising LDL) versus grouping them together based on structure (i.e. the fact that trans fats are unsaturated) as would be done in chemistry.

As if biochemists aren't interested in structure, but chemists are! :D

Look, if anybody at all (chemist, biochemist, hairdresser, garbage truck driver) makes a list titled "Foods That Make Your LDL Go Up", then saturated fats and trans-fats will probably appear together on that list. But it's naive of you to imply that chemists are ONLY interested in their structure, and biochemists are ONLY interested in their effect on blood lipids when consumed! ;)

Bryan

Actually, I have never tried to make a distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry. I will have to assume you have no chemistry education, or you would realize that is not what I was doing. Basically the difference between inorganic and organic chemistry boils down to carbon...organic chemistry deals with carbon containing compounds (not necessarily living things...for example alcohol) and inorganic deals with compounds that don't contain carbon, however there is some overlap between the two subjects.

I know that biochemists are interested in structure...I am a biologist with a minor in biochemistry. I was making a simple distinction between the two disciplines....believe me, I'm not naive.

Chemistry is primarily (and I don't mean ABSOLUTELY) the science of structure and reactivity of compounds...biochemistry takes this a step further by analyzing how these reactions occur in vivo, which involves far more variables than in chemistry, and causes compounds to behave in a manner different from what would have been expected based on results from a chemistry lab. If we simply relied on results from chemistry research, trans fats would still be classified as unsaturated fats that are a healthier choice than saturated fats (which they were regarded as until recently), because based on the fact that their structure is in fact unsaturated, and they were expected to behave in the body as unsaturated fats do....which we all know has now been proven false.

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It is a FACT that BOTH saturated and trans fats raise the level of low density lipoproteins (cholesterol TRANSPORTERS) in the blood (hence the reason they are sometimes grouped together). Where I'm from, these fats ARE grouped together, however, a distinction is made between the two. Trans fats also lower high density lipoproteins ("good" cholesterol) in the blood (which would be the hugely different physiological effect that I assume you were referring to), which is why in the U.S. there is a distinction now made between saturated and trans fats on labels.

I cannot believe you think that a) the only/only important phsyicological effects are how they affect a person's cholesterol, and b) saturated and trans are the same/similar pshyicologically. What complete nonsense, fats play THOUSANDS of roles within the body and trans fats act VERY differently to saturated fats. They may have ONE similar effect (levels of LDL) but that is no reason to catagorise them as the same, Should we lump protein and carbohydrate together becuase despite having THOUSANDS of different roles they both affect insulin levels? just becuase they have ONE similar affect they should be lumped together? nonsense.

Unsaturated fats can raise high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol) and should make up the majority of the fats you consume (60 to 90%). I did not say that saturated and trans fats should be completely avoided...just LIMITED. Check your facts sweety...I'm not going to try to convince you anymore.

When did i say that you did? what does this have to do with the arguement? You said "trans and saturated act similar invivo" i said they most certainly do not, and as for checking my facts, My facts come from mary enig PHD widely regarded as the world's leading expert on dietry fat intake:

A few choice exerts:

"consumption of trans fatty acids...had many adverse effects in health areas such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, immunity, reproduction and lactation, and obesity."

"The much-maligned saturated fats-which Americans are trying to avoid-are not the cause of our modern diseases."

Similar phsyichogically? not according to the world's leading expert they're not.

Like bryan says when the catagory is "what makes LDL go up" they can be grouped together, when the catagory is "what's in my food" they should not be group together, they are not the same outside the body and they're certainly not the same inside the body.

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I never said that trans and saturated fats SHOULD be gouped together....I was simply explaining WHY they ARE in some countries. Research on the effects of trans fats is fairly new, so it will take some time (but will eventually likely happen) for all countries to catch up to the U.S. and require companies to distinguish between trans and saturated fats on their label. If you read my post more carefully, you would notice that I stated: A DISTINCTION SHOULD BE MADE (ON LABELS) BETWEEN SATURATED AND TRANS FATS.....

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You said:

"they raise LDL and lower HDL is the only important fact to consider when reading the labels on your food to decide what to eat..."

"there is a huge clash between people who learn about science from their local health food store or the internet, and people who are university educated"

This a clear indication that you agreed with the rational to group saturated and trans together based upon there physicogical effects invivo, i have shown in my previous post this is not true. However if (as you claim) all you were doing was providing a rational for a decision that is clearly wrong, why then, the need to say "people on here are uneducated" when they simply state the decision is wrong and was based upon ignorance, not scientific acuracy.

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You said:

"they raise LDL and lower HDL is the only important fact to consider when reading the labels on your food to decide what to eat..."

"there is a huge clash between people who learn about science from their local health food store or the internet, and people who are university educated"

This a clear indication that you agreed with the rational to group saturated and trans together based upon there physicogical effects invivo, i have shown in my previous post this is not true. However if (as you claim) all you were doing was providing a rational for a decision that is clearly wrong, why then, the need to say "people on here are uneducated" when they simply state the decision is wrong and was based upon ignorance, not scientific acuracy.

Originally, when I first read this thread, I thought someone (Bryan I believe) was arguing that trans fats should be classified as unsaturated fats, when he stated that they are unsaturated and should be called what they are. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted that. What I meant to clarify was the fact that even if they are unsaturated, they should not be grouped together with the unsaturated fats, because the two types of fats have opposite effects on the cholesterol transporters in the blood, therefore grouping them with the saturated fats would be more logical than grouping them with unsaturated fats...but right from the start I did state that there should be a distinction made between trans and saturated fats. When I said that the effects on HDL and LDL are the only important aspect a consumer needs to consider, I should have been more specific...what I actually meant was that a consumer needs to consider the biological effects primarily as opposed to chemical structure (i.e. the fact that trans fats are unsaturated is negligible to the consumer). I also didn't mean to imply that everyone here is uneducated, nor did I mean to offend anyone...I simply felt that my posts were being misinterpreted, which led me to believe that this was due to a difference in education on this topic. In the science community, the only physiological effect caused by trans fats that has been proven (and by this I mean causation has been established) is the effect on HDL and LDL. There are plenty of other studies that show a correlation between consumption of trans fats and other ailments, but correlation does not mean causation, and correlational studies don't hold a hell of a lot of weight in science.

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Also to summarize I was the one saying that my country makes the distinction between SAT FATS and TRANS FATS but not between SAT FATS and naturally occuring animal trans fats like CLA that are listed with the total SAT FATS

Danny

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What I meant to clarify was the fact that even if they are unsaturated, they should not be grouped together with the unsaturated fats, because the two types of fats have opposite effects on the cholesterol transporters in the blood, therefore grouping them with the saturated fats would be more logical than grouping them with unsaturated fats...

It wouldn't be more logical though would it, becuase trans fats are bad for health and saturated fats aren't per se, just becuase two substances have ONE similar property is no logical reason to group them together, given their many differences.

but right from the start I did state that there should be a distinction made between trans and saturated fats. When I said that the effects on HDL and LDL are the only important aspect a consumer needs to consider, I should have been more specific...what I actually meant was that a consumer needs to consider the biological effects primarily as opposed to chemical structure

As saturated fats have different physiological effects to trans fats how would a consumer be able to consider the biological effects of what they eat if the two items are grouped together? misinformation does not benefit the consumer and no scientist worth their salt would group trans/saturated together this is why i said: "it has nothing to do with bio/chemistry its because your looking at scientific data in a supermarket" re its not a justifiable decision based upon good science its an inacuracy that exists becuase of the evident lack of scientific scrutiny applied to supermarkets, your response: "You dont know what your talking about... i have a nobel prize... my mate is a professor... etc.".

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What I meant to clarify was the fact that even if they are unsaturated, they should not be grouped together with the unsaturated fats, because the two types of fats have opposite effects on the cholesterol transporters in the blood, therefore grouping them with the saturated fats would be more logical than grouping them with unsaturated fats...

It wouldn't be more logical though would it, becuase trans fats are bad for health and saturated fats aren't per se, just becuase two substances have ONE similar property is no logical reason to group them together, given their many differences.

but right from the start I did state that there should be a distinction made between trans and saturated fats. When I said that the effects on HDL and LDL are the only important aspect a consumer needs to consider, I should have been more specific...what I actually meant was that a consumer needs to consider the biological effects primarily as opposed to chemical structure

As saturated fats have different physiological effects to trans fats how would a consumer be able to consider the biological effects of what they eat if the two items are grouped together? misinformation does not benefit the consumer and no scientist worth their salt would group trans/saturated together this is why i said: "it has nothing to do with bio/chemistry its because your looking at scientific data in a supermarket" re its not a justifiable decision based upon good science its an inacuracy that exists becuase of the evident lack of scientific scrutiny applied to supermarkets, your response: "You dont know what your talking about... i have a nobel prize... my mate is a professor... etc.".

Acutally...saturated fats are bad for health. As both saturated and trans fats raise LDL they are a significant contributer to heart disease...the number one cause of death in N.A. I don't care what internet site, or study refutes this...it is accepted as fact within the scientific community based on countless studies.

I think you have missed the point I was trying to make: I NEVER SAID SATURATED AND TRANS FATS SHOULD BE GROUPED TOGETHER I SIMPLY TRIED TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY WERE IN SOME COUNTRIES. I won't repeat myself again...this is getting exhausting. I give up...Peace.

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You refer to the scientific community as if it were of a single opinion, if you did yourresearch, you would find that many people in the "scientific community" do not believe saturated fats per se to be bad for health or corelated to CHD, and there are many studies that support this point of view. Your atempts to discount the work of mary enig PhD due to the medium upon which it has been presented is irrational given that this whole debate took place upon the very same medium.

Furthermore, far from "simply trying to explain" you stated there was good reason for the grouping of trans fats with saturated fats due to a disparity between organic and inorganic chemistry and their similiar effects upon LDL cholesterol you then denounced those who opposed the grouping for having less intellect than yourself. I tried to explain, and have since shown; that they are very different physiologically and should not be grouped together, your response "you don't know what you're talking about...im university educated...etc." What a fucking liberty!

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Acutally...saturated fats are bad for health. As both saturated and trans fats raise LDL they are a significant contributer to heart disease...the number one cause of death in N.A. I don't care what internet site, or study refutes this...it is accepted as fact within the scientific community based on countless studies.

I have just three more words for you: the "French Paradox". :)

Bryan

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