ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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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