FDA Moves to Ban Trans Fats from Food Supply

The FDA recently proposed actions to remove trans fats, the artery clogging substance and major cause of heart disease in the U.S., according to recent New York Times article.

Under the proposal, the agency would declare partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, as unsafe. For companies, this means that they would have to prove scientifically that partially hydrogenated oils are in fact safe to the public’s health. Scientific evidence over the past years has shown the contrary.

Although some foods that you pick up off the shelves might state that they have 0% trans fat, they may actually contain some levels of trans fat. The FDA legally allows a company to market their product as having 0% trans fat if the product has less than .05% trans fat per serving. Therefore, if a product has .045% trans fat per serving, the company is allowed to put 0% on their nutrition label. However, if you eat more than 1 serving of this product, you are consuming way more artificial trans fats than you think you are! In order to find out if your packaged foods actually contain trans fat, check the ingredients list for “partially hydrogenated oils”.

Artificial trans fats are created when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. These fats are long-lasting and are popular in frying and baking. They can be found in margarine, which is cheaper than butter. Research has shown that trans fats are the worst kinds of fat because they raise the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

The agency’s commissioner said that the new rule could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

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