The American Medical Association threw its weight behind legislation to ban the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries throughout the United States.
On November 10, 2008, the group, which represents about 240,000 doctors and medical students, said it's taking a tougher stance towards the removal of trans fats in many processed foods.
Their previous, gentler position advised people to reduce their use of trans fats and move to healthier fats and oils (such as monounsaturated extra virgin olive oil) instead.
Trans fats have been proven to raise "bad" LDL cholesterol, while lowering "good" HDL cholesterol. High blood levels of LDL cholesterol significantly increase the risk for heart disease.
The American Medical Association says replacing trans fats would prevent up to 100,000 premature deaths each year in the United States alone.
Trans fats come from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. It makes liquid oil more like butter and makes it less likely to go rancid -- but in the process makes it just as dangerous to arteries as butter or lard.
Early this year, New York City and California banned trans fats in restaurants.
In November 2004, Canada launched a Trans Fat Task Force to monitor the use of hydrogenated fats in restaurants and food companies - however, no official ban on the harmful fat has been put in place.
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