While the causes of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are many and varied, there is growing evidence that the process of inflammation is an important underlying factor. Recently, scientists have focused on elucidating the dietary and lifestyle factors that may have a bearing on inflammation.
In a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers assessed the relationship between the intake of fats known as trans fatty acids and bodily inflammation in a group of 800 women. Trans fatty acids are generally unnatural, chemically manipulated fats that are found in many margarines, processed foods (including baked goods, such as doughnuts and biscuits) and fast foods.
The AJCN study revealed that higher intakes of trans fatty acids are associated with increased tendency for inflammation in the body. The pro-inflammatory nature of trans fatty acids helps to explain, at least in part, why the consumption of these fats has been linked with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.