Science says it’s time to say adieu to some of our favorite comfort foods.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is giving food manufacturers until the end of the year to completely remove all trans fats from their products. These fats derive from the hydrogenated oils put into processed foods. These oils are cheap, they give foods a more appealing texture and — as we know from their presence in fried chicken, doughnuts and our favorite greasy fries – they tend to taste really good. Unfortunately for the taste buds, these fats can cause higher levels of cholesterol and clog arteries, leading to dangerous and sometimes fatal heart problems.
Simply taking something off the shelves doesn’t necessarily help to make consumers more conscious about what they’re eating — so will banning these fats significantly help American health?
New York City and other counties in the state enacted the ban themselves in 2007, and medical researchers now have one answer for us: Yes — the bans work.
The researchers compared hospital admissions data from counties with and without the ban from 2002 to 2013. The results? A 6 percent decline in cases of heart attack and stroke in locations with restrictions on trans fats, which means 43 fewer of these serious heart complications per 100,000 people — and that’s in the first 6 years alone.
The ban isn’t the sole hero in this story — a combination of various smoking bans, mandatory displays of calories on menus and product labels and cheap and accessible gym memberships surely play a role in this improvement. But the results certainly hint at the great potential the nationwide trans fats ban could have in America.