FDA Finally Bans Artificial Trans-fats
In an important victory for people who value their health, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced it will finally ban artificial trans-fatty acids from the marketplace. Before lamenting this latest example of big government’s intrusion into our lives, keep in mind that these synthetic “foods” are considered downright toxic. Some would argue that FDA’s action is long overdue, as the removal of trans fats from the American food supply is expected to save countless lives.
It was only as recently as 2006 that manufacturers were required by law to list trans fats on Nutrition Facts labels. In response to deservedly bad press and mounting marketplace pressures, food manufacturers began phasing out these synthetic partially-hydrogenated fats a number of years ago. Consumers had begun rejecting these Frankenfoods after undeniable evidence emerged showing that trans fats are toxic substances that promote cardiovascular disease. In fact, the link between dietary saturated fat and heart disease is far more tenuous than the clear link between trans fats and atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Trans-fats were developed by chemists nearly a century ago. Originally used in margarine, they were touted as shelf-stable fats that remain solid at room temperature, while resisting spoilage. Trans fats are still found in processed, packaged baked goods and things like ready-to-eat cake frostings. To be clear, trans-fats raise “bad” LDL-cholesterol, lower “good” HDL-cholesterol, and boost artery-clogging triglyceride levels. They also encourage inflammation and promote atherosclerosis. All of which increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Trans fats have even been shown to promote diabetes.
With FDA’s announcement, the stage is now set to remove these poisons from American store shelves for good. And I say good riddance! What do you think? Have you been careful to avoid these fake fats for years, or will you miss them? I’d love to hear your comments and questions.
Mozaffarian D, Aro A, Willett WC. Health effects of trans-fatty acids: experimental and observational evidence. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;63 Suppl 2:S5-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602973.
Mozaffarian D. Trans fatty acids - effects on systemic inflammation and endothelial function. Atheroscler Suppl. 2006 May;7(2):29-32. Epub 2006 May 18.