NYC Restaurants Stop Using Artificial Trans Fats

Two years after New York City declared war on artificial trans fats, nearly all city restaurants had successfully cut the artery-clogging fats from their menus, health officials reported Monday.

In December 2006, the city's Board of Health decided to launch a gradual trans-fat phase-out from all licensed eating establishments -- including restaurants, school cafeterias and street vending spots.

By November 2008, more than 98 percent of city restaurants had stopped using artificial trans fats for cooking, frying and baking, researchers with the city's health department report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Reuters reports.

French fries at restaurants run by McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc . a nd privately held White Castle Restaurants have 98 percent less trans fat and 10 percent less saturated fat in New York since the city’s health commission banned artificial trans fats in restaurants, a study found.

Eating establishments that switched to fry oils with no trans fat reported the change didn’t increase costs and that there weren’t any supply problems, according to a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. So far, there have been no negative economic consequences to New York’s ban on trans fat, the food ingredient linked to heart disease, the authors wrote, Bloomberg reports.

Lest you think you don’t have to worry about all this because you never eat any trans fats, please be aware that anything listing partially hydrogenated oils of any kind in the ingredients (soybean is the standard) contains trans fats. Cookies, pies, cakes, breads, some chips, and many of the fried foods that you buy at the grocery store very often contain partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats. If you can cut the amount of these fats in your diet to zero: excellent. The National Academy of Sciences has ruled that there is no such thing as a “safe” level of trans fat consumption, and no daily recommended amount exists, reports.