2006-09-30 00:00:00

The Big Apple to Ban Trans Fats

Three years ago, NYC banned smoking in restaurants and now there is talk of banning a substance some feel is just as harmful…trans fats.

According to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard University School of Public Health, “Artificial trans fats are very toxic, and they almost surely causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year,” he said. “The federal government should have done this long ago.”

What exactly is this toxic substance??? Basically, trans fat is made when manufacturersadd hydrogen to vegetable oil–a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.? Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

That doesn’t sound so bad, a little extra hydrogen never killed anyone…right?? Researchers at Harvard’s School of Public Health think so.

“By our most conservative estimate, replacement of partially hydrogenated fat in U.S. diet with natural unhydrogenated vegetable oils would prevent approximately 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year, and epidemiologic evidence suggests this number is closer to 100,000 premature deaths annually.”

Recently there has been a movement to remove Trans fat by a few large companies.? Wendy’s announced in August that it had switched to a new cooking oil that contains no trans fatty acids. Crisco now sells a shortening that contains zero trans fats. Frito-Lay removed trans fats from its Doritos and Cheetos. Kraft’s took trans fats out of Oreos.? McDonald’s switched to a Trans fat free cooking oil in Denmark following a nationwide ban of the substance.

Removing the Trans fat from all our foods might seem like a daunting task, but so did removing cigarette smoke from restaurants.? In this day and age it is hard to imagine someone smoking at the table next to you or the desk next to you at work.? This was a reality not long ago.

These changes require education and active participation.? Groups like Ban Trans Fats have provided on online resource for those interested in becoming more knowledgeable regarding Trans Fats.

The information is out there and the studies have been done.? It is obvious that this substance is detrimental to our already fragile health.? Start with you own diet and then help to educate other about the dangers of Trans Fat.

More at CNN.com

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-30 00:00:00