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    Reductions in restaurants’ use of trans fats may have played a role in declining levels of the fats in the blood of white American adults between 2000 and 2009, a Centers for Disease Control study found Wednesday.

    The level of trans fats in those who participated in the study fell 58 percent from 2000–2009, a time period in which many restaurant companies reduced their use of oils that contained man-made trans fats.

    Unlike other fats, the CDC said trans fats are not essential to human health, and that research indicates that high consumption of trans fats is linked to cardiovascular disease.

    “The 58 percent decline shows substantial progress that should help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults,” said Christopher Portier, director of the Atlanta-based CDC?s National Center for Environmental Health.

    CDC researchers randomly selected white participants ages 20 or older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the years 2000 and 2009. It said the purpose was to examine trans-fatty acid blood levels before and after enactment of U.S. Food &Drug Administration trans fat regulations in 2003.

    The regulations, which took effect in 2006, required manufacturers of food and some dietary supplements to list the amount of trans-fatty acids, or TFAs, on the “Nutrition Facts” panel of product labels. Some local and state health departments also took steps to help consumers reduce their daily consumption by requiring restaurants to limit their use of TFAs in food and increase public awareness campaigns about the health risks associated with TFAs.

    “Findings from the CDC study demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in reducing blood [trans-fatty acids] and highlight that further reductions in the levels of trans fats must remain an important public health goal,” Portier said.

    Though not bound by the FDA regulations, some restaurant chains voluntarily eliminated or greatly reduced the use of man-made trans fats before or soon after the requirement became law for manufacturers.

    Most national and regional chains have since followed that strategy.
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