By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--The FDA announced  it will require the food industry to gradually phase out trans fats because they’re dangerous.

Trans fat is found in some processed foods like cookies.  It’s also in donuts, cupcakes, pizza, french fries, even mac and cheese.  The heart clogging fats have slowly been removed from many foods, but now the Food and Drug Administration wants them eliminated completely.

“I think it’s a wise decision.  Coronary heart disease is a leading killer in this country and trans fats contribute to the development of coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Irv Herling, a Cardiologist with the Lankenau Heart Institute.  He applauds the move that the FDA says could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

“When you consume trans fats they raise your bad cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol, but they also lower your HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol,” said Dr. Herling.

Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid.  That’s why trans-fats are often called partially hydrogenated.  They help improve texture, flavor and shelf life.

“They put hydrogen in a place where it doesn’t belong and the body processes it in a way that increases cholesterol adversely and HDL cholesterol adversely,” said Dr. Herling.

The FDA doesn’t have a specific date for the phase out of trans fats.  Companies will be given time to reformulate their products.

Many manufacturers and big chains including McDonald’s have already removed trans fats from their products.

FDA Trans Fat Ban Information-

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