The Disappearance of Trans Fat
Three years from now, the entire food industry will be changed – fortunately, it is for the better. The US Food and Drug Administration released a statement last month that as of 2018, food companies will no longer be able to use trans fat in any of their food. This “zero-tolerance” ban on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, is a large step in the direction of making health a priority for all Americans.
A Brief History of Trans Fat
Trans fat has been an essential ingredient in the US food system since the early 1900s. Food companies utilized it as an inexpensive way to improve taste, hold artificial coloring and make foods last longer. However as the decades passed, more research began surfacing regarding the safety of trans fat. In the 1970s and 1980s, research linked trans fat to heart disease in animals. In 1990, a study found that consuming trans fat led to higher levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower level of good cholesterol. A decade later, the US government required all food companies label foods containing trans fat. As of 2006, New York City became the first city to ban the use of lipids from all bakeries and restaurants, paving the way for proof that delicious food can still be made without the use of this dangerous ingredient.
These policies along with increased knowledge of the dangers of this product have already cut Americans’ intake of trans fat by 85% in the last ten years. With the new ban, it is estimated that over 50,000 lives can be saved yearly in addition to reducing medical costs.
Government Protection or Policing?
Those opposed to the ban argue it is a form of “government policing” and policy-makers way of acting as the “nation’s nutritionist” instead of letting individuals make voluntary and informed health decisions for themselves.
Whether or not you approve of the ban itself, the main thing that everyone can agree upon is that trans fats are not a part of a healthy lifestyle. Consumption of food with partially hydrogenated oils can lead to heart disease and an increase in bad cholesterol. These days, when alternatives such as coconut or palm oil are an option, it is important to put your health first.