ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
CANCER
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil

Most French fries served in U.S. restaurants are immersed in corn-based oil -- usually considered the worst oil for human health -- before they're fried, according to the authors of a new study.

Corn oil contains copious amounts of saturated fat, known to contribute to heart disease.

This type of oil is also low in monounsaturated fat, which most Americans need more of, and high in polyunsaturated fat, which, in too-large quantities, can lower HDL ("good") cholesterol along with LDL ("bad") cholesterol, said Karen Congro, a registered dietician and director of the Wellness for Life Program at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.

Congro was not involved with the new study, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The same research group that performed this study reported in November that corn, which has been linked to obesity, is a prime ingredient in almost all fast-food sold in the United States, either directly or through animal feed.

Chain restaurants are not required to provide "specific" information on ingredients in the food they offer, while small businesses do not have to provide any information at all.

"Restaurants don't tell you what they're using and, even if you ask them, they will be very cagey," Congro said. "It will be a blend, but the blend is never a blend of anything you want to use."

French fries are particularly worthy of study, said the authors, from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, because they contribute 20 percent of the calories from a fast-food meal via the fat in the frying vat.

And Americans get about one-third of their total calories from restaurants.

The authors focused their attention on the saturated fat content of corn oil, which is higher than in canola, sunflower or safflower oils.

The researchers bought French fries from 68 of the 101 national fast-food restaurants represented on the island of Oahu, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and others, as well as from 66 small businesses. Then they measured carbon isotope composition of the oil used to fry the food.

Almost seven out of 10 of the national chains but only 20 percent of the small businesses sold fries dipped in corn oil. Eleven percent of small businesses and 7 percent of chains used blends containing more than 50 percent corn oil, the researchers found.

The authors speculated that larger conglomerates are able to negotiate economical deals to purchase large quantities of oil from suppliers.

Corn oil content ranged from 16 percent on the low end for McDonald's, to 36 percent and even 50 percent and up in other eating establishments.

Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald's USA stated that, in May 2008, the corporation "completed the transition to a new canola-blend cooking oil in our 14,000 U.S. restaurants. This blend of canola, corn and soybean oil allows us to serve fried menu items with reduced levels of trans fat and saturated fat, while delivering the same great taste our customers expect from McDonald's."

Even if dipped in relatively healthy oils, though, French fries aren't high on any nutritionist's list of preferred foods.

"French fries aren't exactly the most healthy food ... and we all know that eating too much of anything is not a good thing," said Marianne Grant, a registered dietician and certified diabetes health educator at Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center in Corpus Christi.

"We try to steer people away from foods like this," Congro added.

SOURCES: Karen Congro, R.D., CDN, director, Wellness for Life Program, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Danya Proud, spokeswoman, McDonald's USA; Marianne Grant, R.D., registered dietician and certified diabetes health educator, Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, Corpus Christi, Texas; Jan. 18-22, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online Published on: January 18, 2010