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Female's Fatal Four

Fitness for mind and body.

It is too early to say that trans fat causes diabetes, but a new study shows that women who consume more trans fat have a higher risk of the disease.

Female silhouette

Cholesterol-rich foods were also linked to a higher risk, while polyunsaturated fats (which are found largely in vegetable and fish oils) seem to protect against diabetes.

Do remember that there are some types of essential fatty acids that are proving to be very beneficial to your health, particularly called omega-3.

One possible explanation:

Cell membranes rich in polys may do a better job of admitting insulin from the bloodstream into the cells.

What to do?

Replace trans fats (found largely in stick margarine, shortening, fried foods and sweet baked goods) with unsaturated fats (from fish, vegetable and olive oils, salad dressings, and nuts). See also: Margarine Madness and-or Choosing Which Oil to Use for more information. If this is difficult, consider an Omega fish oil supplement - the health benefits are tremendous.

Swapping trans fat for saturated fat would make no sense since both raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

What is LDL cholesterol?

Low-density lipoprotein is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. A clot (thrombus) that forms near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the heart muscle and cause a heart attack. If a clot blocks the blood flow to part of the brain, a stroke results. A high level of LDL cholesterol (160 mg/dL and above) reflects an increased risk of heart disease. If you have heart disease, your LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg. That's why LDL cholesterol is called "bad" cholesterol. Lower levels of LDL cholesterol reflect a lower risk of heart disease. (Source: AmericanHeart.org)

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