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Positive Results for NYC’s Trans Fat Ban

Jul 23rd, 2012

trans fat banThe primary reason why fast food is said to shorten our life is probably because of the presence of trans fat.

Trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil and becomes solid fat. Some are also a product of animal fat. Trans fat is the oil of choice for processed foods because it does not easily spoil and food cooked in it can stay fresh longer and it enhances the flavor. The problem is, trans fats pose a serious health hazard because it increases bad cholesterol (LDL) while at the same time lowering good cholesterol (HDL). No wonder experts consider it to be the worst kind of fat.

As with any kind of fat, trans fats cause heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

The New York City Board of Health led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg created a trans fat ban in 2007 because of the health risk it brings. Restaurants were required to ensure that their food do not contain more than 0.5 grams of trans fat.

Recent studies show that this effort has paid off based on the result. Researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene analyzed receipts for about 15,000 lunch receipts from 168 fast-food locations and checked the corresponding nutritional value on the menu. Trans fat used in their food has dropped from about 3 grams to 0.5 grams.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows foods that contain less than  0.5 grams trans fat are

“No one’s saying that turned junk food into health food. But for people who eat fast food regularly, it’s a significant reduction in heart risk,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

American families eat more than one third of their meals outside their homes. It is therefore important to take measures to make restaurant food healthier.

The ban not only made New Yorkers healthier but has also made a promising start nationwide. Major fast food chains like McDonalds applied the healthy change to all their branches.

A new food ban is looming in New York. City officials led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg are proposing to implement a ban on large sodas. They want sale of sweetened drinks to be be regulated to ensure that they will not be larger than 16 ounces. But it has already met a lot of protests particularly from beverage vendors. The positive results of the the ban on trans fat is a good precedence for the proposed soda ban.

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