The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) reports that 98% of the city’s restaurants no longer use artificial trans fat (aka partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) in oils, shortening or spreads.  About 50% of restaurants before the ban were using the fat that’s connected with high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

Additionally, the ban has also reduced the use of saturated fats in meals.

DHMH researchers compared nutritional data and food purchases on 6,969 NYC lunch purchases in 2007 with 7885 lunches purchases in 2009.  The analysis involved 168 Manhattan fast-food eateries and showed a sharp decline in trans-fat consumption, from 2.91 grams before the ban to 0.51 grams in 2009.

That average decrease of 2.4 grams translates into 22 fewer calories from trans fat per meal.

The types of eateries that showed the most substantial post-ban decline in trans fat consumption were hamburger chains, Mexican eateries and fried-chicken restaurants.

Researchers point out that studies link 40 daily calories from trans fat to a 23% greater risk of heart disease.

Dr Sonia Angell of DHMH wrote, “Artificial trans fat—a recognized contributor to coronary heart disease risk—is widespread in our food supply and, at the time of the department’s action, was virtually impossible for the average consumer to avoid.  An effective way to reduce this risk was to change the food supply through regulation.”

Source:  Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, October 2012      The, July 20, 2009     Study published in Annals of Internal Medicine


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