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NYC ban on trans fat

Posted by Jane N.

It’s sweet that the government wants us to live longer so we can pay more taxes, but shouldn’t we be responsible for our own health? Dietary trans fat have come under scrutiny in the past few years due to their tendency to increase risk for heart disease by raising “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreasing “good” HDL cholesterol. In other words, it’s not good for you. So what are trans fats exactly? Trans fat is the product of a process called hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to an oil to make it more solid. This process is what helps baked goods hold their shape, or extend shelf life. They’re called trans fat because of their altered structure after hydrogenation. Trans fat is thought to be worse than saturated fat in regards to health because of its effect on cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that intake of trans fat should be kept as low as possible.

In response, the FDA mandated in January of 2006 that trans fat would now appear on all nutrition labels. New York City is now taking this one step further by banning trans fat from their restaurants. While I feel this should help us start thinking (or hopefully continuing) to watch what we put in our mouths, some of us think it’s our right to eat what we want, including trans fats.

This also may be a potential problem for some restaurants that rely on specific recipes and ingredients to ensure the quality and taste customers have grown to love. Fat can be a hard texture and taste to replicate. Most restaurants seem happy and eager to participate, while others might have a hard time. According to the final notice of adoption posted on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, only restaurants that supply nutrition information to the public need to comply. Those that don’t supply nutrition information publicly need to provide proper documentation to the Department of Heath that their food contains trans fat.

My question is this: Have we put ourselves in such bad nutritional and physical shape that the government needs to step in? Is this a policy that should be implemented across the country? You can read the official notice of adoption through the NYC Department of Health website.

Comments (2)
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That is a good question. It has its good and bad points to it. I think its great that NYC is implementing a program for its community to try and make them healthier. It seems like a step in the right direction in the combat against obesity across the United States. For health, wellness, and fitness minded individuals it might not pose too much of a problem to ban Trans fat. But for the people who constantly eat these foods, it might be a big problem. It also seems that the foods high in Trans fat are the cheapest as well. So it might not only be restricting a type of fat and taste, but perhaps limiting places to eat for people with tight budgets, or for people who just need a quick bite? Regardless of the consequences of banning trans fat from restaurants from good...and perhaps bad, I'm not sure if NYC should ban trans fat altogether. It sounds kind of like prohibition. I think NYC is great intentions and possibly headed in the right direction, but an all out ban on Trans fat in NYC might not be the best thing. I'm sure other programs and legislature could work better. I am glad to a government willing to take an initiative and step up to the plate. Regardless, it will be exciting to see how this turns out.
Woo hoo for Starbucks!
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