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FDA Bans Use of Trans Fat

posted on November 8, 2013

Voters in Telluride, Colorado rejected a proposal Tuesday to tax sugary drinks. But a study last week that suggested slapping a hefty tax on soda in Britain could cut the number of obese adults significantly.

Researchers estimated a 20 percent tax on soft drinks would reduce sales by 15 percent and prompt consumers to choose other beverages like orange juice and milk.

While the tax would result in a modest decline of 1.3 percent in obesity, scientists say that reduction would still be worthwhile since 25 percent of Britons are obese.

Government regulations forcing consumers to eat more nutritiously were on display on "this side of the pond" as well this week, when the Food and Drug Administration moved to eliminate a known “public enemy” from American grocery store shelves.

FDA Bans Use of Trans Fat

Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried food.

This week though, the Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on all trans fats.

Artery-clogging trans fats are considered the worst for heart health.

The FDA says this could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year.

Dr. Allen Taylor, Chief of Cardiology, MedStar Heart Institute: "They change your cholesterol levels, and they promote inflammation in the body, and those two changes appear to add up to a quite large increase in heart disease risk. As much as 20% of heart attacks may in fact be due to these trans fats."

The additive is used in processed and fried foods... and at restaurants... to improve texture, shelf life and flavor.

Trans fats have largely disappeared from grocery stores already.

Many companies started phasing them out 2006 - prompted by FDA mandated labeling and local laws, like New York City's, that ban them.

Dr. Allen Taylor likened the change to public smoking bans.

Dr. Allen Taylor, Chief of Cardiology, MedStar Heart Institute: "This is probably one of those things. In ten years we're going to look back and see further declines in heart disease rates and say, 'Oh my goodness, that made a lot of sense.'"

The FDA has yet to set a timeline for phasing out remaining trans fats, which once lined supermarket shelves as a staple of the American diet.



Tags: FDA government and policy health health nutrition news nutrtion trans fat