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Aired September 09, 2002 - 08:44 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: There has been a lot of talk about fat lately, but apparently very little clarity. First, McDonald's announces it is making changes to try and make its fries a bit healthier. And when you thought you were about to figure out the nutrition labels, the government announced it is adding another type of fat for all of us to consider.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta sorts out the confusion in this week's magazine, "Time" magazine, and the good doctor is with us this morning at the CNN Center -- Sanjay, good to see you. Heads or tails, make it out for us. Good morning.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I tell you, it is confusing, no question about it. Saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans-fats. All these terms. We actually went to the streets of Manhattan to figure out what questions people had, and what they knew about fat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does the bad fat come from, and how does it accumulate in your body so quickly?
L.L. COOL J, RAPPER: Essential fats, flaxy (ph), things like that. That kind of fat is good for you. If you eat that kind of fat, you can actually lose the bad fat. So a lot of salmon, things like that will help you get rid of the fat that you don't want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And some of you may have recognized that as L.L. Cool J, and he actually -- he was just walking by on the streets there in Manhattan.
And he made a good point, actually, about saturated versus unsaturated fats. And basically, to just sort of break it down, the saturated fats are the bad kind of fats. The unsaturated fats can be potentially good kind of fats. All foods have some fats in them, and some dietary fats are absolutely essential. Let's look at some examples of saturated versus unsaturated fats. And here is an easy way to remember, by the way. Saturated fats will stay solid at room temperature, like tallow, lard, butter, poultry, milk, cheese, animal foods. Those are the sort of examples of saturated fats.
Now let's look at some examples of unsaturated fats. Those are the healthier ones. Again, these are going to be liquid now at room temperature. These are good rules of thumb to remember in trying to distinguish the two. Vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil, corn oil, some seafoods, things like that.
But Bill, as you mentioned, there was a lot of confusion recently because McDonald's and the fast food industry has been talking about trying to reduce the amount of saturated fats -- again, the bad kind of fat -- and increasing the polyunsaturated fats.
HEMMER: Sounds like L.L. Cool J is on to something, and knows what he is talking about. With regard to trans-fats, are they good or are they bad and what are they?
GUPTA: Let me tell you, just in a quick nutshell. Basically, trans-fats -- first of all, they're bad for you, and McDonald's actually pointed out again that they were going to reduce the amount of trans-fats in their cooking oil. In a nutshell, back years ago, animal fat, saturated fat was the fat that was primarily used in the fast food industry. Due to consumer pressure, they said, no more animal fat, let's switch to something else. Unsaturated fats were not a good choice because they were too unstable and too expensive, so the industry decided to actually create a fat, trans-fat, and that is actually partially saturated fats. They're pretty bad for you as well, Bill.
HEMMER: Well, we think we got it. That is why you are here.
GUPTA: It is a little confusing. Stick to salads.
HEMMER: Yes, will do. Point well taken. Dr. Sanjay Gupta in our "House Call." Thank you.
GUPTA: See you soon.
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