The 15th European Congress on Obesity saw the results of researchers looking into the fat content in fast food - one of the biggest sources of trans fats available to consumers.
Seventy-four samples of French fries and fried chicken bought in McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in 2005 and 2006 were analysed across 35 countries. Trans fat levels ranged from 15per cent of the total fat content to 29 per cent.
The study, announced this week, is yet another nail in the coffin for "bad fats" in food. Dr. Peter Light, researcher from the Canadian institute, said: "We know saturated and trans fats cause cholesterol build-up in the arteries, but it can also accumulate in the heart cells and affect the way the cells conduct electricity and contract properly."
Dr. Light notes that intracellular saturated fats can cause an excessive build-up of calcium within the heart cells.
This abnormal calcium level disrupts the heart's electrical flow, causing heart cells to dangerously hyper-contract, without a normal rest period in between beats. Light's research reportedly shows that "good" fats such as polyunsaturated and fish oils do not have this effect.
He said: "The more saturated fat you have circulating in your heart cells at the time of a heart attack, the more severe the attack may be.
"By controlling the amount of saturated and trans fats in our diet, we can likely reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest and reduce the incidence of damage if we have a heart attack."
Bonnie - it is great to see that they are emphasizing calcification as a major risk factor instead of just cholesterol, cholesterol, cholesterol. Let us not forget that fats are good, especially when they are predominately omega-3, monounsaturated, and some polyunsaturated. Our bodies do need saturated fats, but in moderation and not chemically-altered.