Are You Eating The One Thing That Increases A Woman's Risk of Stroke?

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A new study has found that a diet high in fat (specifically trans fat) increases a woman's risk of stroke.  We already know that high-fat diets increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers -- just to name a few.  But this new study looked specifically at women over 50 and found that women who ate the most trans fat had a 30 percent greater risk for stroke.

This new research emphasizes the dangers of not just trans fats, but the trans fats in cookies, cakes, and pastries -- sad news for anyone (me) who may have found out how yummy a gourmet cupcake can be.

From a USA Today -- Study: High-Fat diet raises stroke risk in women ...

After taking into account other factors that affect stroke risk —- weight, race, smoking, exercise and use of alcohol, aspirin or hormone pills —- researchers concluded that women who ate the most fat had a 44% greater risk of stroke.

They also found a 30% greater risk of stroke among women eating the most trans fat, which is common in stick margarine, fried foods, crackers and cookies.

Stroke In Women Linked To Fat Intake ...

According to the Harvard epidemiologists and nutritionists, each year an estimated 100,000 deaths from heart disease in the United States are associated with trans fat intake. Federal health statistics show that, on average, American women in their 50s and 60s consume between 63 and 68 grams of fat on a daily basis. The American Heart Association strongly recommends that the intake of fat is limited to less than 25 to 35 per cent of total calories, and the intake of trans fat to less than 1 percent. The healthiest fats come from nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils.

So ... what does this new study mean for you and me?

I think it's just another reminder of why we should all be trying our best to eat healthy for life (not just weight loss).  It certainly seems that all the evidence points to a need for healthier food choices.  And you don't need to turn into a health nut to do that.  Simply be aware of the unhealthy foods you are eating and begin to replace some of them with healthier food choices.

When it comes to fat in our diets, all fats are not created equal.  And it's the trans fats that have the most harmful effects on our health.  Here is why ...

Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated fats. Trans fats are created during a hydrogenation process, where liquid vegetable oils are converted into solid fats. Trans fats are thought to be worse for us than saturated fats because they not only raise total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, they also lower HDL (good) cholesterol.

Be aware of the unhealthy foods you are consuming.  Here are some of the foods you should be trying to avoid because they are high in trans fat ...

  • Commercially packaged snacks, cakes and cookies
  • Packaged cake mixes
  • Fried and fast foods
  • Donuts
  • Margarine

Do you know how much fat you consume in the average day?  Try keeping track of your fat intake for one day.  You might be surprised at the amount of fat you are actually eating in the course of a day.

How much is too much?  Here is what the American Heart Association recommends for daily fat intake ...

  • Total Fat - 56 to 78g or less
  • Saturated Fat - 16g or less
  • Trans Fat  - 2g or less

It's now a law that the amount of trans fat must be on the nutrition label, so don't buy it without checking it.

What do you think?  Are you worried about your personal risk of stroke and heart disease because of the amount of trans fat in your diet?  Are you willing to make changes in your diet to lower your risk of serious health problems?  Let us know in comments.

Here are other posts you might find helpful if you are looking to make healthier food choices ...

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com

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