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NYC Restaurants Make Smooth Transition Away From Trans Fats

Trans Fats Banned In New York City RestaurantsBack in 2006, despite objections from industry groups like the National Restaurant Association (NRA), New York City banned the use of trans fats in all foods served in the city’s restaurants.  At the time, the NRA said that municipal government had no place regulating restaurants, and the ban would put an undue burden on business.

The deadline for compliance with the new ban was last summer, and a new study came out recently that has shed some light on how valid the food service industry’s fears were when it comes to new regulations like this one.  The study found that 98% of NYC restaurants are compliant with the ban.  It also found that the transition away from trans fats has been cost neutral.  Restaurants were helped by manufacturers marketing trans fat free alternatives during the transition.

Trans fats are present in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a staple in many processed foods for the past 20 years.  They also occur naturally in meat fats and some dairy products.  Trans fats negatively affect cholesterol levels in humans because they raise LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol) levels and depress HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

Other municipalities and local governments across the nation have started to follow New York’s example.  Given the fact that New York restaurants were able to accomplish a full transition away from trans fats in two short years in a way that did not negatively impact business, the entire U.S. should be seriously considering ways to follow suit.  High cholesterol levels contribute to many health problems, including heart disease, obesity, and heart attacks.  There’s no reason why industry groups like the NRA, who once cried foul over trans fat bans, shouldn’t start to take the lead on such an important, and easily fixed, national health issue.

About Greg McGuire

Greg has blogged about the food service industry for years and has been published in industry magazines, like Independent Restaurateur and industry blogs like Restaurant SmartBrief. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons and enjoys reading, live music, and the great outdoors.

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  1. Agreed raising foods raising cholestrol levels should not be encouraged. Just go to France and watch the way people eat there. At the same time go and check their waist lines or the cholestrol profile. They are much fitter than us. This is a personal observation and not backed my data. However they walk around a lot and on weekends it is common to see cycles attached to cars and the family zipping off.
    After the Beijing Olympics, I read, that the Chinese want the entire nation to be exercising on an average 15 minutes more before the next Olympics.
    Exercise as far as I know is one of the best moderators of most ailments.
    In the second last sentence you have written that high cholesterol leads to obesity. Obesity is caused principally by two factors in combination 1. pigging 2. not exercising.

    • Hi Jeff, Thanks for the comments. Actually, I did not say that high cholesterol leads to obesity. What I said is that high cholesterol contributes to many health problems, obesity being one of them. High cholesterol is certainly a contributing factor to obesity, but not the only factor, as you pointed out.

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