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  • Every 1% increase in trans fats associated with 2.3 lbs weight gain

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 7:26 am Email this article
    "Among overweight women, for every one percentage increase in percentage of calories from trans fat, women gained an additional 2.3 [pounds]," notes a new paper from Walter Willett and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. Subjects

    Subjects: 41,518 Nurses followed for 8 years

    This was according to “an 8-year follow-up of 41,518 women in the Nurses’ Health Study”.

    The women were 41 to 68 years of age, free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes in 1986 when “baseline” weight and diet were assessed.

    Weight gain and other measurements were taken eight years later in 1994.


    Dr. Simopoulos told me this several years ago

    Women gained 5 lbs in 6 weeks eating margarine 4 times per week

    The brilliant, world-renowned, omega-3 researcher, Artemis Simopoulos, M.D., author of The Omega Diet, told me this several years ago in an interview I did with her.

    Here is what she said.

    Hobbs: Do trans fatty acids affect body weight?

    Simopoulos: Maybe. Animals fed trans fatty acids have larger fat cells although overall body weight is the same. In one clinical trial it was found that women who ate margarine at least four times per week had gained 5 lbs in six weeks compared to those who consumed it less frequently even though both groups consumed and expended the same number of calories.

    Hobbs: Wow!

    Simopoulos: Yes. And trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils have also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fats now make up 5 to 7% of our diet, so it seems likely that the combination of a high intake of trans fats as well as a high intake of omega-6-rich, omega-3-deficient corn oil may be part of the reason Americans are gaining weight. It’s also likely that this is contributing to chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

    Hobbs: Are you saying omega-3’s may be useful in preventing weight gain?

    Simopoulos: Yes. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against weight gain in animals, although this has not been studied in humans yet. The American diet has an absolute and a relative deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids. That is, we don’t consume enough omega-3’s to start with and our over-consumption of omega-6’s from corn oil puts the ratio out of balance and also causes a relative deficiency.

    The interview is posted here.


    Field AE, Willett WC, Lissner L, Colditz GA. Dietary fat and weight gain among women in the nurses’ health study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Apr, 15(4):967-76.


    Alison E. Field
    Childrens Hospital Boston
    Division of Adolescent Medicine
    300 Longwood Ave. (LO-649)
    Boston, MA 02115
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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