February, American Heart Month, is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and promoting healthy changes to improve heart health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports heart disease as the leading cause of death in Georgia. It is important to adopt healthy dietary habits to promote heart health by increasing fiber and lowering sodium and saturated fat intake. According to the National Institutes of Health, normal cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and 40 mg/dL or higher for HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
For decades, public health advocates have been concerned with the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in processed and manufactured foods. PHOs are industrially-produced oils that add hydrogen to a vegetable oil. Vegetables oils are typically liquid at room temperature but this chemical manipulation of the oil makes it solid at room temperature which lengthens the shelf life of a product.