How Trans Fats Accelerate the Obesity Epidemic

It's no secret the trans fats in processed foods -- from Girl Scout cookies to McDonald's French fries -- harm your health.

So, it shouldn't surprise you to learn trans fats likely contribute more to a patient's weight gain than any other kind of fat, according to a new study.

Based on data collected for the often-used Nurses Health Study on some 41,500 women, an increase of only a percentage point in the amount of trans fats a patient ate over an eight-year period was related to a 2-pound weight gain. For example, a 4 percent increase in trans fats intake translates to a weight gain of 8 pounds.

This formula mirrors an earlier one discovered by Harvard University's Dr. Walter Willett who determined an increase in trans fats intake of only 1 percent was associated with an extra half-inch around a man's waist.

No wonder, more U.S. health experts are calling for a complete nationwide ban on trans fats, something that's apparently very doable in some parts of the world.

USA Today October 21, 2006