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Trans-fats not all bad; eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables aids weight loss

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 September, 2015, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 September, 2015, 10:49am

Low levels of trans-fatty acids may not be as harmful to human health as previously thought, even if industrially produced. It may even be beneficial if they occur naturally in foods such as dairy and meat products, finds a study published last week in the European Heart Journal. Artificial trans-fatty acids occur when oil goes through hydrogenation, which makes it more solid for use in processed foods such as cakes, biscuits and pies, and for frying. Researchers measured the concentrations of trans-fatty acids in 3,259 people in southwestern Germany who were admitted to hospital due to heart disease. During a median follow-up period of a little more than 10 years, 30 per cent of these patients died. "We found that higher concentrations of trans-fatty acids in the membranes of red blood cells were associated with higher LDL or 'bad' cholesterol, but also with lower body mass index, lower fats in the blood [triglycerides] and less insulin resistance and, therefore, a lower risk of diabetes," says lead researcher Dr Marcus Kleber of Heidelberg University. "We were surprised to find that naturally occurring trans-fatty acids were associated with a lower rate of deaths from any cause, and this was driven mainly by a lower risk of sudden cardiac death."

Fruit and non-starchy vegetables aid weight loss

Increased consumption of fruits and non-starchy vegetables is inversely associated with weight change, according to a study by Harvard researchers published last week in PLOS Medicine. The scientists examined associations between changes in the intake of specific fruits and vegetables recorded in dietary questionnaires and self-reported weight changes in 133,468 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. After adjusting for self-reported changes in other lifestyle factors such as smoking status and physical activity, an increased intake of fruits and of several vegetables was inversely associated with weight change. However, starchy vegetables, for example peas and corn, were associated with weight gain.

No link between coffee and common type of irregular heartbeat

There is no association between coffee consumption and an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, according to research that appears in the journal BMC Medicine. Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent form of irregular heartbeat, causing a substantially increased risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause mortality. The research includes a meta-analysis of four other studies from Sweden and the US, involving a total of 248,910 individuals over the course of 12 years. Among these individuals, a total of 10,406 cases of atrial fibrillation was diagnosed. The researchers found that coffee consumption was not associated with atrial fibrillation incidence, even in more extreme levels of coffee consumption. Coffee, however, may still trigger other forms of irregular heartbeat.