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Article - Transfat and Blood Pressure
By avoiding MSG & E150c (see other article on blood pressure) my BP stabilized around the top of normal/bottom of  mild. It seemed that nothing that I did would move it down from there.

Then a couple of months ago (early February 2006) “Transfat” hit the headlines in the UK for a brief period, being blamed for clogging peoples arteries amongst other things.

So I carried out a test.

● Firstly I tried to identify if I was eating any Transfat & found that it was not easy to find out since very few UK food labels mention it, even if it is in the food. (According to the news and  my researches on the Internet it's in about 40% of the foods in our shops). So I used a method which health conscious people in the USA used before their food labelling regulations were changed recently to require manufacturers to list the Transfat content of their food on the label. They did two checks.
● Look at the total fat content (say 5g per 100g). Then add together the component fats which are listed (say Polyunsaturates 2.2g, Monounsaturates 0.9g, Saturates 0.1g – total 3.2g). Then look to see if there is any fat which isn't listed (1.8g in our example). If there is it's probably Transfat.
● The other check is to look for “hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the list of ingredients. That's another name for Transfat and the closer it is to the beginning of the list, the more Transfat there is in that particular food.
Another rough guide is that the longer the shelf life of things like baked goods the more Transfat they're likely to contain – Transfat takes a long time to go rancid which is why the manufacturers started using it before anyone knew it made us ill.

● Secondly I eliminated everything which contained (or even might contain) Transfat from my diet.

The result was that within a few days my BP was down at the bottom end of normal and stayed there without needing Hawthorne or anything else to help it. After a couple of weeks I began to deliberately eat small amounts of the things which I knew elevated my blood pressure, and noted what happened. E150c had it's effect within a few hours and lasted for a couple of days. Salt has a similar effect but only lasts for a day. The effects of MSG start after about a day and last for a week to 10 days. The effects of Transfat  start after about 36 hours and last for two or three days.

It's early days to be sure yet, but something else seems to be happening - the longer my diet stays “Transfat free”, the less my BP is provoked by the other things.
© Sue Doughty 2005
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