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Trans fatty acids increase the risk of gallstone disease

Several studies have shown that consumption of trans fatty acids leads to development of diabetes//, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Trans fatty acids are the hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil present in some margarines, candies, baked goods and many processed foods. They are produced commercially in large quantities by heating vegetable oils in the presence of metal catalysts and in the process the poly unsaturated fatty acids are removed. Trans fatty acids increase LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.

A prospective study published in the May issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that higher consumption of trans fatty acids increased the risk of gallstone disease. The study was performed by applying a semi quantitative questionnaire that had questions relating to the food and frequency of food intake to a cohort of nearly 46000 men twice a year. Patients diagnosed with gallstone disease based on the X ray and cholecystectomy findings were recorded. During 14 years of follow-up, 2356 new cases of patients with symptoms who had gallstones were recorded. The result which was adjusted for difference in age and other associated risk factors showed that those men who had taken higher amounts trans fatty acids had a greater relative risk(1.23) of gallstone diseases compared with those who had taken lower amounts. Among the subtypes of trans fatty acids risk was more with trans-oleic fatty acid as compared to the other types.

Intake of the unsaturated vegetable oils from canola, peanuts, olive, flax, corn, safflower and sunflower which contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids that can reduce total cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels assumes significant importance in this context. So play it safe by eating safe.

Reference : Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:997-1003.

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