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The Trans Fats Ban Can’t Come Soon Enough!

Artificial trans fats are the cause of thousands of pre-mature deaths every year. To put things mildly, consuming trans fats are just as good as consuming poison. As a matter of fact, if you want to see how terrible trans fats truly are, the next time you are in your local supermarket, take a good look around. You will now see tons of products with the words “NO TRANS FATS” or “ZERO Trans Fats” plastered across the front of them as a part of a marketing strategy to gain business by assuring the customer that the product does not contain trans fats so therefore, it can’t be that unhealthy.  It makes you stop and think “wow, this stuff must be bad for you”. And bad it is my friends.

Trans fat, which is actually trans fatty acid, is the worst kind of fat. It is even worse than saturated fat.

Partial hydrogenation is a process used by food manufacturers to make oil more solid and to provide longer shelf life in certain products among other things. The downside to this process is that partially hydrogenated oil is laden with lethal trans fat.

Trans fats are extremely effective at lowering of HDL (good) cholesterol and raising LDL (bad) cholesterol. Aside from that, they have been shown to harden and clog the arteries, cause insulin resistance as well as cause or contribute to type 2 diabetes as well as many other serious health problems.

The good news is that the City of New York has finally decided to try to do something about it. Right now, health officials are in talks about prohibiting artificial trans fatty acids.

On Tuesday September 26th, the city health department issued a proposal that would bar cooks at any of the NYC’s 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain hazardous substance which is typically listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.

Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden acknowledged that the ban would cause some problems for restaurants, but he feels that the cooks can simply replace the trans fats with substitute oils that taste the same or better and are far less dangerous.

I for one, am all for the proposal and hope that it becomes a national law. This stuff is truly toxic and when some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City are poisoning people with it, the public can take for granted the risks associated with it. A few years ago, I remember people saying that bars and restaurants would go bankrupt as a result of the public smoking ban. The reality is that everyone overcame it, the restaurants and bars are still in business and NYC is a healthier place to enjoy life.

A proposal similar to this in Chicago is still under consideration. However, it would only apply to companies with annual revenues that exceed $20 million. This provision is specifically targeting fast-food giants.

A few companies have become somewhat proactive and have already started making changed to their ingredients such as Wendy’s, Crisco, Frito-Lay, and Kraft. McDonald’s has eliminated using trans fats in Denmark following a countrywide ban but has yet to do in the US.

Under the New York proposal, restaurants have until July 1, 2007 to remove any artificial trans fats from of cooking oils, margarine and shortening. They will have until July 1, 2008 to remove it from everything else. This law would not affect grocery stores and would not be applicable to trans fats that occur naturally like the ones found in some meats and dairy.

This proposal has not yet been approved by the Board of Health and will not be until at least December. This isn’t news to me because the health dangers of Trans Fats have been known for decades folks, yet the food companies have continued to use this poison! In my opinion, the ban can’t come soon enough.

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