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“Face the Fats” Campaign Underway in Minnesota

April 11, 2007

A leading health group is launching a campaign against what it calls “bad fats.” Sueling Schardin with the American Heart Association in Minnesota says the “Face the Fats” drive is aimed at educating shoppers and improving health. She believes it needs to be on the front burner.

"We want consumers to be aware of trans-fats and saturated fats. And, also to encourage them to eat more foods with some of the healthier fat options, such as the poly or unsaturated fats."

She urges us to pay attention to what’s on those food labels and shop smart. And, while our bodies need some fat, too much is hazardous to our health. Schardin points out that the health implications of trans-fats in foods are well-known.

"It’s artery-clogging, has a tendency to increase our bad cholesterol and decrease the good cholesterol in our bodies. It is on the actual nutrition facts label. There’s actually a category for trans-fats. You can also look at the ingredients list, and they give you a clue if there’s a hydrogenated fat in there, a trans-fat. Or it says 'hydrogenated.' So, you see the word ‘hydrogenated’ in the ingredient list."

She says the "fat education" campaign is designed to make sense of complicated nutritional information, and encourage consumers to eat fats in moderation.

Stay away, she says and pay attention to processed food because trans-fats are used to extend shelf life in some commercially-baked products such as crackers and cookies. The American Heart Association says the most healthful sources of fat include olive and canola oil, avocados, and some nuts and seeds.

More information is online at

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN