OK, hold on to your hats: the American Medical Association says that drinking coffee is good, eating eggs is good but eating margarine, which they once touted as a way to prevent heart attacks, is BAD.

Drinking coffee, especially when it is decaffeinated, may be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Research has found that the more coffee an individual generally drinks, the lower his or her risk for diabetes. However, it remains unclear whether it is the caffeine or another ingredient in coffee that may confer a protective effect. Researcher Mark Pereira says, “Magnesium, for which coffee is a good source, could explain some of the inverse association between coffee intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus through known beneficial effects on carbohydrate metabolism.”

Common misconceptions keep many people, especially those worried about heart disease, from eating eggs. But the July issue of the Harvard Heart Letter says that while eggs have a lot of cholesterol, it doesn’t all go straight to your bloodstream and then into your arteries. For most people, only a small amount of the cholesterol in food passes into the blood. Saturated and trans fats (that’s margarine) have much bigger effects on blood cholesterol levels.

The “apple” body shape that increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease is made worse by eating margarine. Researcher Lawrence Rudel says, “Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to a higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled. What it says is that trans fat is worse than anticipated. I was surprised.”

According to the FDA, trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fat is formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine by adding hydrogen.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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