Thus begins a 3,000-word petition to the Food and Drug Administration, the work of a man on a dogged, decades-old crusade to eradicate trans fats from food.
Fred Kummerow, a 94-year-old University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor emeritus who still conducts research on the health effects of trans fats in the diet, filed the petition with the FDA last month. The petition is now posted on the FDA Web site, and public comments are invited. (See below for information on viewing the petition and making a comment.)
"Everybody should read my petition because it will scare the hell out of them," Kummerow said.
Trans fats contribute to the two main causes of heart disease: blood clots in the coronary arteries that can lead to sudden death from a heart attack, and atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries that interferes with blood flow, he said. Trans fats are also known to increase low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) in the blood and to spur inflammation, both of which contribute to heart disease.
Trans fats displace the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3), which the body needs for a variety of functions. Kummerow's own research, published last month in the journal Atherosclerosis, found that trans fats also interfere with the function of a key enzyme essential to blood flow regulation.
An earlier study from Kummerow's lab found that pregnant sows fed a diet that included trans fats passed significant quantities of the trans fats to their offspring during nursing. The piglets' plasma levels of trans fats increased from 5 percent three days after birth to 15.3 percent at 6 weeks of age.
Kummerow believes the FDA's requirement (begun in 2006) that trans fats be included on food labels is inadequate and misleading. Anything less than one-half gram of trans fats per serving can be listed as zero grams. This means that people are getting the mistaken impression that their food is trans fat-free, he said.
Although Kummerow began publishing on trans fats in 1957, his efforts against trans fats in food began in earnest in 1968, when he urged the American Heart Association to ask the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils to have its members decrease the amount of trans fatty acids in shortenings and margarines, replacing them with essential fatty acids.
"Even then, there was strong evidence that trans fatty acids increased plasma cholesterol levels," Kummerow said.
The food oil industry reluctantly agreed to lower the trans fatty acid content and increase essential fatty acids in its products. That change coincided with a dramatic decline in coronary heart disease mortality after 1968. Kummerow believes the decline in the dietary intake of trans fats and the increase in linoleic acid could explain at least part of the reduction in mortality due to heart disease.
To reinforce his message, Kummerow keeps in his lab a sample of human arteries that are clogged with atherosclerotic plaque. Another unfortunate characteristic of trans fats is that they cause cells to increase calcium in the blood, which builds up in and narrows the arteries, the main symptom of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis makes the arteries "look like old scrub boards," Kummerow said. "They look corrugated. This corrugation builds up to the point where it will stop blood flow."
Kummerow's petition was filed Aug. 7, 2009. The FDA has 180 days to respond.
"According to American Heart Association data, nearly 2,400 Americans die of heart disease each day," Kummerow said. "This statistic shows the importance of a quick response."
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further reports about: > FDA > Food and Drug Administration > Omega-3 > Petitions > Trans > atherosclerosis > blood flow > cholesterol level > fats > fatty acid > fatty acids linoleic acid > heart disease > linolenic acid > low-density lipoprotein > omega-6 > plaque in the arteries > trans fat > veterinary biosciences
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy