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Trans-Fatty Acids

Posted On : January 07, 2009

As I am sure you have all heard in the media, the largest group of US population that is getting larger is the youngest member of the society.

There are some common sense reasons why our children are becoming overweight. These include excess calories, sedentary lifestyle (being in front of computer, and video games.) Children however can easily be taught healthy habits. It is much easier to avoid the disease of the obesity, rather than try to correct it later in life. I am not discounting the genetic predisposition to obesity which may be present in some cases.

Looking over some of our very first newsletters I came across the following list that I believe is worthwhile sharing again.

Teaching Kids to Eat Right and Get Moving
Studies cite sedentary pastimes and poor eating habits as the main factors behind childhood obesity. Experts see prevention as the remedy. Much of the latest research on childhood obesity is focused on prevention and intervention: breaking children of their bond to television, guiding them toward more physical
activity and improving their eating habits. Nurturing Good Habits: For a child, family eating patterns and parental pressures can make the difference between a healthy body and a sensible outlook on meals or a lifetime of bad eating habits. Experts recommend that parents establish good habits and pass them on to their kids.

  • Don’t restrict eating by making certain foods off-limits
  • Don’t tell children to clean their plates.
  • Don’t put children on a diet unless recommended by an experienced health professional who realizes that obesity is not all about overeating and lack of activity.
  • Don’t use food to regulate moods-reward children with love, attention and parental time.
  • DO realize that three meals a day works for adults, but children need healthy snacks too.
  • DO try to serve meals to the whole family that meet heart-healthy guidelines-<30% fat.
  • DO try to introduce healthy foods to children—they may learn to love it!
  • DO become educated about the food types, their nutritional values as well as portion sizes.
  • DO make exercise a part of daily life— walk to and from school with them if you can.
  • DO limit television viewing, playing video games, surfing the internet, and being on the computer. They will find fun active things to do.
  • DO join your children outdoors for fresh air. Once outside stress seems to release easier.
  • DO down at dinner with your family— conversations will happen!

Food should be healthy, and be valuable and nutritional. Our children will mimic what we do on daily basis. By making the same changes in our life style, we will set example for our children to follow.

“My hair is thin. My hair is falling out. My hair is dry and brittle. I just run out of energy…..”These are some of the most common reasons bariatric surgery patients come to see me. Typically they are eating between 2 and 4 of the vending machine peanut butter crackers for one meal and a few noodles at the other meal. Many times they just simply aren’t hungry, and this is a welcome feeling for them. Well, thinner is greater, but thinner hair isn’t usually as well received.

The hair problem is reflective of protein malnutrition, (and possibly vitamin deficiency if the patient is not taking their vitamin mineral supplement as directed.) This can happen several year’s post –op when patients simply stop paying attention to their intake.

Here are some of our suggestions for quick and easy protein:

  • Purchase low fat peanut butter and low fat crackers and keep handy in
    your car or desk at work.
  • Try hard-boiled eggs—coloring them is helpful in keeping track of each
    batch’s freshness.
  • Low fat cheese is a possibility.Watch the portion size.
  • Skim milk (or 1% milk) is a great source of protein. Add 1/3 cup of nonfat dry milk powder to 1 cup of milk—this will give you twice the protein. Lactose intolerant? Try Lactaid milk, Lactaid tablets to help
    with the gas, cramping, or diarrhea.
  • Beans and bean soup. If gas is a problem try BEANO—this is an enzyme sold over the counter in the drugstore.
  • Sliced or shaved deli meat, Teriyaki turkey jerky, sliced almonds are quick protein sources.
  • Remember to try and get 80 grams of protein/day.

Trans-fatty acids occur in semi artificial fats created by pumping hydrogen through liquid fats. This process adds hydrogen atoms and alters the molecular bonds of fatty acids that are liquid at room temperature. This process was first used to produce margarine, which has the texture of butter. It gives the “crunch” in cookies, and most importantly (for manufacturers)
prolongs the shelf life.

One of the many problem with these acids is that they increase LDL (low density lipoproteins) and lower the HDL (high density lipoproteins) that are good for you. Studies conducted by scientists in the last 25 years confirm that two percent increase in consumption of trans-fatty acids double the risk of developing heart disease.

As much as 25 to 50 percent of the fat in baby biscuits, cookies, chips, croissants and fish sticks contain appreciable amounts of trans-fatty acids.

Many of the major fast food chains have now committed to removing Trans fats rom their menu. Enjoy your dinner.

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