The Checkout

NYC to Restaurants: Get an Oil Change

In what could be a bellwether move, New York City's Board of Health yesterday took the first step in requiring restaurants to sharply limit the amount of trans fat in their foods.

Trans fat--a.k.a. partially hydrogenated vegetable oils--has been found to significantly increase the risk of heart disease. Public health advocates have likened it to bacon grease in your kitchen sink and lead in paint.

Americans eat, on average, six grams of trans fat a day. A single fast-food meal can contain as much as 10 grams--far higher than the American Heart Association recommended limit of about 2 grams per day

Under the suggested rule, NYC restaurants would have six months to switch cooking oils and shortenings and 18 months to limit trans fat to less than half a gram in the rest of their menu. Pre-packaged food in the original packaging would be exempt.

NYC wants to make mandatory a policy that city health officials have been asking restaurants to adopt voluntarily for the past year. Chains such as Wendy's have stopped using trans fat. Kraft Foods now sells trans fat-free Oreos. But NYC officials say most restaurants have ignored their pleas.

The Board of Health is also considering a requirement that restaurants list the calories in its food on menus and menu boards. The proposed rule would apply only to establishments that already publicly offer calorie information. In practice that means many of the large chains, including McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Such chains offer nutrition information on their Web sites. But who looks up the calories before heading out to Burger King? McDonald's is rolling out nutrition labels, including calorie info on its packaging. But Center for Science in the Public Interest's Margo Wootan says by then, you've already paid for your Big Mac, so that info is of less use than if you had to stare at it on the menu board. (A Big Mac has 560 calories in case you're wondering.)

The D.C. Council is contemplating a requirement that restaurants list calories on menus, too. I once saw the bill's chief sponsor, At-Large Council member Phil Mendelson, breathlessly tell an advisory neighborhood commission meeting that chili cheese fries contained a week's worth of calories, which, incidentally, only delayed my next visit to Ben's Chili Bowl by a month.

That leads me to the question: Even if you know how bad food is for you, will you stop eating it? Do you think a ban on trans fat is a good thing?

By Annys Shin |  September 27, 2006; 7:00 AM ET Consumer News
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Comments

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Do you want to help lower healthcare costs? Then ban transfat. It's that simple.

Posted by: Healthcare Maven | September 27, 2006 8:16 AM

If I picked up a burger and saw that it had 10 grams of trans fats in it, I would drop it like a 30lb. maggot.

American's don't WANT to eat this stuff - it's a convenience to the food industry. They hydrogenate food to make it less appealing to bacteria and decomposition. The side effect is, YOU can't digest it either, so *plop*, into your arteries it goes.

Posted by: Randall | September 27, 2006 8:32 AM

Aren't we adults here? Wouldn't we realize that fettuccine alfredo is a heart attack on a plate? Must we be beaten over the head with the calorie counts if we decide to actually let ourselves indulge once because we've been good the rest of the time?

I will admit to McDonald's being a guilty pleasure. That's why I don't eat it a whole lot but every now and then I do and I know it's not terribly good for me when I do it. In moderation, though, I simply don't care. I accept it, I take responsibility for it by not eating there again for a while after I indulge.

Come on, people. At this rate we'll end up giving out menus to people based on their weight -- weigh-in at the door, here, take this menu because it has less than 200 calories per meal, or no you're fine so you can have the dessert menu too. Which essentially gives the restaurants control over what we eat instead of our taking responsibility for it ourselves. Which is a terrible way to live.

Yes it's a problem but do we have to legislate shoving everyone's nose in it every time they want to eat out?

Posted by: Facepalm | September 27, 2006 8:37 AM

This is a perfect WP article - legislate the way people eat? What would Bubba have said in the midst of his McDonalds addiction? Let's hear it for Government intervention and rules for every facet of life! Unless, of course, the Right proposes them.

Fair and liberally biased.

Posted by: SD from New Orleans | September 27, 2006 8:44 AM

It'll be a cold day in hell before I stop eating bacon.

Posted by: tallbear | September 27, 2006 9:01 AM

Following the ban on transfat, New York banned alcohol, ice cream, motorcycle riding, skydiving, flying a small plane, and having children. Anything remotely dangerous will no longer be allowed! Prepare to sit in your house and do nothing! But hey, at least we will reduce healthcare costs! You are living in the most free country in the world! Except you can't get decent tasting fries at McDonalds anymore.

Posted by: Jake | September 27, 2006 9:10 AM

Our nation is in the midst of a true food crisis. Legislation must be put in place. Trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and many many other man-made ingredients in our foods are creating an obesity epidemic. Our bodies are not designed by nature to process these "foods." Unfortunately, the average American does not read labels to see what's in their food. And if they do read labels, they don't realize what partially hydrogenated oil is or high fructose corn syrup or maltodextrin or citric acid or the other harmful man-made ingredients that have taken over our food supply. If NYC can set a precedent by eliminating transfats from restaurant menus, that is only the first step in the right direction. Don't give me any garbage about the government forcing too many laws upon us to live a certain way. This is a public health issue. If obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and countless other health problems decline dramatically when transfat intake decreases significantly, that will save millions in tax dollars currently spent on health care.

Posted by: Transfat H8er | September 27, 2006 9:13 AM

This isn't about not being allowed to eat bacon. It is about hidden Crisco in your soup or some entree at a restaurant.

My feeling is that restaurants should be allowed to use trans-fat, but ought to have to inform diners before they order- so that diners can decide for themselves whether to buy an otherwise healthy seeming plate of Morrocan cous-cous that has 6 grams of trans-fat from margarine in it.

And yes, I do think people care about this. My feeling is, if I'm going to get something drenched in fat- then it is going to be ice cream or steak, or something I really enjoy. But I don't need it in my bran muffins- and would avoid buying something that is high in "hidden" trans-fats.

Posted by: Rock Creek | September 27, 2006 9:27 AM

I think they should label trans-fat in restaurant food. It's not different than the label that they have to put on the menus about eating raw eggs. Everyone knows raw eggs can make you sick, but you still see it. Everyone knows McDonald's is not good for you, but you need to know how bad it is before you buy it.

Posted by: Boston | September 27, 2006 9:37 AM

"Following the ban on transfat, New York banned alcohol, ice cream, motorcycle riding, skydiving, flying a small plane, and having children. Anything remotely dangerous will no longer be allowed! Prepare to sit in your house and do nothing! But hey, at least we will reduce healthcare costs! You are living in the most free country in the world! Except you can't get decent tasting fries at McDonalds anymore."

Ditto. Wake up America. This is not an example of democracy. If we continue allowing government to mandate every aspect of our lives we are living in a DICTATORSHIP.

Posted by: Shannon | September 27, 2006 9:50 AM

The problem isn't not knowing what is in the food. It's called fast food for a reason. Most people realize that deep frying potatoes and covering them in cheese and chili isn't good for you. The people who care about their bodies, or their weight, don't eat at places like McDonald's anyway. So the calorie menu isn't helping them. The people who are eating at McDonald's are the people that don't have the time or the money to eat anywhere else. Why do you think the dollar menu was such a hit? Because college students and lower-socioeconomic mentalities want to get the most food for the least amount of money. Do you think telling them exactly how bad the food is for them is going to change anything? No way! Calorie menus are not the solution. The solution is changing the menu all together.

McDonald's and others have now put salads on their menu (if they can be classified as that) and bottle water as a choice of beverage. Yet, they have lowered the price of the classic favorites and nickel and dime you to death for all the "healthy" choices.

Trans-fat became popular because it's cheap, not because the restaurants thought it would taste good. And the fact that hydrogenated corn syrup propagates the urge to eat doesn't hurt either.

The truth of the matter is that Americans are out to get the most for the least; in terms of money, food, communication, etc. We are a society that has lost the art of architecture, cuisine, articulation, and many other arts because they took too much time. The majority of people would think a miracle had occured if there was a way to eat without restraint and still have the "ideal" body. There is no sense of discipline or consequence of choices. Our country created the middle-class merchant mind and made it the norm. We dislike Europeans for looking down at us and not admiring our way of life, as we are so apt to do. Now that the middle class, the intelligent but not refined mind, is the norm; we want more. We will never be satisfied, something else inherent to being American.

The point is that people don't care. If they did, fast food places wouldn't have made so much money in the first place. Like Annys Shin, knowing the calorie count will probably only delay their next trip to the fast food joint a month, if that.

Posted by: Reality Check | September 27, 2006 9:53 AM

Tallbear- There's no transfat in Bacon. It'
s natural fat, the way God intended. It's not partially hydrogenated in some chemical plant on I(%.

Posted by: WIll | September 27, 2006 9:55 AM

Is there a minimal amount of trans fat we should eat, or is any amount just bad, bad, bad? I don't eat any trans fat normally. I rarely eat at restaurants, so I am not being poisoned by them, either.

Posted by: bkp | September 27, 2006 9:59 AM

This is not a civil-liberties issue. Would you tell McDonalds to stop putting lead or plastic in their burgers? This stuff is not naturally occurring, it is harmful, it doesn't really do anything for the taste.

Posted by: Will | September 27, 2006 9:59 AM

Cigarettes need to be the next thing banned.

Posted by: Michelle | September 27, 2006 10:04 AM

We aren't all scientists so, yes, the extra information at eateries would be a good thing.

Posted by: Trenton | September 27, 2006 10:07 AM

As a NY'er I think this stinks, soon I wont be able to get a coke or snapple in a fast food joint, you know all that sugar isn't good for you. Besides I have senn many many thin or normal looking customers in KFC and BK and the rest, and lots of the larger set in so called healthy type estableshments. It all depends on the amount of food and excersize you do.

Posted by: Jack | September 27, 2006 10:14 AM

What's next, the government fat police standing in fast-food restaraunts or in our kitchen's telling you can't have that sandwich, beer or pizza? A fat food tax?

The government has no business telling people what can and what they can't eat.
It's one step short of dictatorship, and the American people need to take responsibility for what they put in their mouths.
This is not the principles America was founded on.

Posted by: Cheryl | September 27, 2006 10:17 AM

There are naturally occuring Trans fats in animal products such as meat, milk, etc. It is impossible to eliminate the intake of trans fats unless we all become vegans. Trans fats were not made by man, man just found a way to make them. I am in favor of eliminating hydrogenated oils but don't like saying we need to "eliminate" trans fat because that will never happen. Furthermore, Trans fats are not responsible for the obesity problem we are facing, but rather eating more calories than expending...bottom line! Not everyone wants to exercise, but those that sit on their booty all day need to take that into consideration and not eat more calories than they are burning.

Posted by: Kansas | September 27, 2006 10:19 AM

"I rarely eat at restaurants, so I am not being poisoned by them, either."

Wow, what an interesting and exciting life you must have!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2006 10:23 AM

If I can eat McDonalds every once in a while and feel less guilty for it, I'm all for the ban on trans fat.

Posted by: Houston | September 27, 2006 10:26 AM

Now they want to tell the restaurants how to cook their food? What's next? Telling them what to cook? Well one more choice being yanked away from us! How long are we going to put up with this? The government just needs to butt out of our personal lives. This country is completely obsessed with food. Where else in the world do they concern themselves with how many calories does it have or how "good" or "bad" something is for you? The way I look at it is as long as I don't eat too much of any one thing, I'm fine. If I want to eat McDonalds or a big ole plate of Alfredo, then I'm going to do it. If the restaurants start being regulated then I won't eat there. It's my choice don't make it for me. Simple as that.

Posted by: americangirl | September 27, 2006 10:31 AM

Whats wrong with making companies more responsible for the products they create and sell? If a company thought they could get away with putting sand in their food they would do it. Its all about making a buck. They can make a buck without poisoning people. Don't worry you will still be able freely poison yourself somewhere without being arrested!

Posted by: Jim | September 27, 2006 10:32 AM

Can we please stop being so melodramatic? Companies are not "poisoning" people when they put trans fat in their products. It is perfectly OK to eat these foods, but listen close folks, IN MODERATION! Eating a few oreos or, yes, having a big old plate of chili cheese fries once in a while will not cause you to drop dead any sooner - relax and indulge every so often! If it was up to some people, we'de all be sealed in plastic bubbles 24/7, all in the name of lowering healthcare costs.

Posted by: big boy | September 27, 2006 10:35 AM

As someone who just started to track the calories I eat so I can be healthier I would LOVE for ALL restaurants to make available nutritional info. Weather in a special menu or on a website. At least that way I can look up what I am eating and make an INFORMED decision. If restaurants made nutritional info available to customers I imagine that they would see the sales of meals with higher fats etc. go down and make adjustments to the menu.

Posted by: vch0920 | September 27, 2006 10:44 AM

I'm glad I don't live in NYC. Frankly, I avoid trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup most of the time, and that has helped me lose some weight combined with a high fiber diet. However I don't want to force my lifestyle on people - if they want to chow down on fatty foods that's their business. What's next? Banning of red meat, or how about fried food in particular? We can't let the health nazi's push their agenda on us! I say educate the masses and have nutrition and ingredient information provided where possible. If someone gets fat after that it's their own damn fault for not paying attention. Do we want to end up with a society like the one in Demolition Man?

Posted by: JD | September 27, 2006 10:57 AM

The answer is education, not legislation. Everyone with any education understands that eating McDonald's burgers and fries is unhealthy, and should only be eaten in moderation. Teach everyone about nutrition, and let them make their own bad decisions with full understanding of their actions and the consequences.

Posted by: Casey | September 27, 2006 10:58 AM

For the record, if you equate banning transfat with living in a dictatorship in your comment then no one with sense is going to bother reading what you have to say because you have no credibility. Say what you want about this move but try to display some sense of perspective.

Ban or no ban, restaurants should be required to provide nutritional information, including calories, fat content etc, to diners, if its requested. If I feel like eating healthy I should be able to choose my food accordingly, if I feel like splurging then I shouldn't have to look at how many calories my ice cream has in it, and if I always avoid trans fat then I should be able to in a restaurant too.

Posted by: ED | September 27, 2006 10:59 AM

It seems by these comments that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that can't (or won't) make informed decisions without Government consent or edict, and those that prefer to live their lives with a few risks and rough edges involved....without anyone looking over their shoulder. In a country founded on notions of individual choice and freedom, it is SHOCKING that these proposed bans are given any credence at all.

Cigarettes, trans fats, soda pop, FOIE GRAS, c'mon folks! We have real problems to work on, and life is too short to wring our hands over the occasional Big Mac.

Be happy, LIVE, enjoy lifes pleasures in moderation, and quit with the worrying....and keep your mitts off my plate.

Posted by: Greg from NC | September 27, 2006 11:00 AM

When did they move New York City to California?

Posted by: Shocked | September 27, 2006 11:02 AM

funny, but I don't recall people back in the 70s getting bent out of shape when the FDA banned certain food colorings (red dye #5?) and artificial sweeteners because of links to cancer. why is it now when other substances, i.e., trans fat, are being linked to health problems that we hear cries about our rights being taken away? what folks do in the privacy of their own homes is of no concern to me, but fast food joints should not be allowed to poison the food that young kids, for lack of education or maturity, gobble down like crazy.

Posted by: ralph | September 27, 2006 11:13 AM

"Can we please stop being so melodramatic? Companies are not "poisoning" people when they put trans fat in their products."

Yes, and by the same token, a law that would restrict the use of a harmful artificial substance with no value except to lower the companies' costs is not a "dictatorship" either. It may or may not be over-regulating, but to invoke a word like "dictatorship" is just hysteria.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who apparently believe the food industry should be able to shove whatever toxic garbage it chooses down the throats of its customers and any suggestion that there should be any sort of limitation, or even information to allow the consumer to make a truly informed decision, is somehow "dictatorship."

Unless those people posting here work for the food industry themselves, which is entirely possible.

You can't find soda sweetend with plain old sugar anymore (which is perfectly healthy, in moderation.) Everybody is using high-fructose corn syrup, which is cheaper, but which does not interact with the body in the same way sugar does. There's no reason the manufacturers shouldn't use it because it's cheaper for them and most consumers don't care, but it means those of us who would like a soda with a couple of teaspoons of sugar rather than HFCS are out of luck. But the moment anyone raises that issue, they get shouted down with frantic cries of "food police!"

Posted by: SteveG | September 27, 2006 11:14 AM

Americans already consume way more than 6 grams a day of transfats, as erroneously reported widely. Mary Enig, phd, reports numbers from lab testing and food disappearance data in the range of 20-30 grams a day. The stuff kills you slowly, just like cigarettes. 20 years from today, we will be suing the food and oil companies for blocking the release of research showing the damage from trans fats, just like the cigarette companies got sued for blocking research showing the dangers of tobacco.

Congratulations to NYC. I never thought it would be NYC leading the revolution against transfats in the US, but it is!

BTW, Denmark has banned them country-wide.

Posted by: Dave Asprey | September 27, 2006 11:15 AM

>Cigarettes, trans fats, soda pop, FOIE GRAS, c'mon folks! We have real problems to work on, and life is too short to wring our hands over the occasional Big Mac.

Then you pay for all your cancerous, obese and diabetic friends' exorbitant health care costs.

Why should I be forced to pay for all your bad habits?

Ignorance and shortsightedness abound...

Posted by: ConcernedAmerican | September 27, 2006 11:20 AM

I say ban trans fat. The ban is needed for those restaurants and companies that can't be convinced any other way to stop serving it. There's no good reason to use it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2006 11:23 AM

When will government learn that you cannot legislate behavior? Look at all the various laws on the books. Just because there is a law doesn't mean that something will no longer occur. If it was true, then there would be no murders, no stealing, no speeding, no jaywalking, etc. Legislate no trans fats and sooner or later, will they then legislate no caffeine, no red meat, no alcohol (oh wait a minute...that was already tried...it was called Prohibition. That worked well, didn't it?) because its bad for you?

Posted by: ABH | September 27, 2006 11:26 AM

I just want access to information about what is in the food I may or may not order at my local/regional/national eatery. I don't want anyone banning anything. I just want information so I can make the best choice for me. Why is this so hard to come across when all foods at my local market are required to have ingredient and nutrition labels attached?

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | September 27, 2006 11:48 AM


Obesity is a major issue in this country. It's about time we did something about it. I think we can all agree on that. I think in the name of the almighty dollar, many companies have chosen to feed us poison b/c its cheaper. Like cigarettes before them, food companies will have to start making more ethical decisions. Alcohol is a different matter. I can have a beer or two and not get drunk, I have to be 21 to drink it, and it isn't available on the $.99 menu on every street corner in the US. Time to shape up America!

Posted by: Fred | September 27, 2006 11:53 AM

"Alcohol is a different matter. I can have a beer or two and not get drunk, I have to be 21 to drink it, and it isn't available on the $.99 menu on every street corner in the US."

And just like with alcohol, moderation is key. It is perfectly OK to indulge once in a while and eat a big mac and fries - you will not drop dead mid meal, so can we please stop with the poison references?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2006 11:56 AM


Trans Fats have given me more upset stomachs than any other food I have eaten.
This stuff is pure poison and affects everyone in some fashion or other.

Banning this added product in all foods
is the responsible thing to do whether it affect you directly or insidiously.
As I see it there are no benefits to the consumer at all only negatives.

Posted by: Matt | September 27, 2006 12:11 PM

I don't understand why it would be such a big deal if they posted the calorie, fat, etc. content of restaurant foods on the menu. I know for myself, when I actually SEE the numbers, it impacts me. I know fast food is bad, but I still have it every so often. Maybe if I saw that this sandwich had 200 calorie less than this, I could make a more educated decision. We should know what we are putting in our bodies, besides 'big mac' and 'fries'. I think it help.

Posted by: Becky | September 27, 2006 12:22 PM

"...poison the food that young kids, for lack of education or maturity..."

Young kids, if you mean the caregiver-dependent set, should have caregiver involvement in their food choices. Again the issue is taking responsibility rather than telling the government to do it for us.

Posted by: Facepalm | September 27, 2006 12:28 PM

Trans fats are only present in things that contain hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils. Trans fats aren't in any animal products, fruits, vegetables, or grains by themselves. Steak, alfredo sauce, pasta, pizza, donuts, ice cream, french fries, fried chicken, cookies and all other foods existed before trans fats were produced, and they can be made without trans fat. You can make and eat virtually any food item without it containing trans fat.

But trans fat is WAY more harmful than any other type of fat out there. It's cheaper, but that's not a good reason for it to be THRUST upon people.

Sure, everyone knows that a typical meal at a restaurant isn't healthy. But trans fat brings it to a new level of "bad-for-you-ness".

Bring on the saturated fat, bring on the cholesterol, bring on the sugar, I'll eat it sometimes, that's my choice. But I have to go to great lengths to avoid trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and other additives.

If I ask for "butter" and they bring me margarine, that is NOT the same thing. One I will eat, the other I won't.

They can go too far on legislating "health choices." I do not think it is a good idea to put the calories on the menu. Ruby Tuesday's put the calories/fat/carbohydrates/protein on their menus once, next to each item.
I WANTED to order the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, KNEW it was bad for me, but could NOT order it when I saw those numbers. I had the salad bar instead. Then I avoided Ruby Tuesday's until they changed their menu.

If you really want to know the calories or other nutrition information in fast food or restaurant food, you will find out ahead of time. These places offer pamphlets, websites, and there are books sold listing the numbers.

For me, I eat a nutritious diet at home, most of the time. I don't buy products that contain trans fat (among many other things). Occasionally, I enjoy going out to eat, and I will order something I know is not health food. But I want to eat normal junk food, not nightmarish junk food containing trans fat.

Comments about the "food police" and "dictatorship" have their place... They shouldn't ban junk food in general. But banning trans fat is a change that, done properly, the customer wouldn't even notice. It is looking out for them, banning a VERY harmful substance. The recommendation is to eat as little as possible per day, preferably NONE.
The WHO is wanting to ban the substance worldwide!

For those of you who think it is no one's business to ban trans fat, perhaps they should still allow people to build houses with asbestos, too.

You can have your chili cheese fries and eat them, they will still be bad for you and still taste great. It's not like they will be taking them away from you - they just won't be the kiss of death!

p.s. To SteveG - In Waco, TX there is a Dr. Pepper museum. You can buy Dr. Pepper there made with cane sugar syrup (the original recipe). That's the only place that I know of.

Posted by: Cathy | September 27, 2006 12:32 PM

Trans fats are only present in things that contain hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils. Trans fats aren't in any animal products, fruits, vegetables, or grains by themselves. Steak, alfredo sauce, pasta, pizza, donuts, ice cream, french fries, fried chicken, cookies and all other foods existed before trans fats were produced, and they can be made without trans fat. You can make and eat virtually any food item without it containing trans fat.

But trans fat is WAY more harmful than any other type of fat out there. It's cheaper, but that's not a good reason for it to be THRUST upon people.

Sure, everyone knows that a typical meal at a restaurant isn't healthy. But trans fat brings it to a new level of "bad-for-you-ness".

Bring on the saturated fat, bring on the cholesterol, bring on the sugar, I'll eat it sometimes, that's my choice. But I have to go to great lengths to avoid trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and other additives.

If I ask for "butter" and they bring me margarine, that is NOT the same thing. One I will eat, the other I won't.

They can go too far on legislating "health choices." I do not think it is a good idea to put the calories on the menu. Ruby Tuesday's put the calories/fat/carbohydrates/protein on their menus once, next to each item.
I WANTED to order the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, KNEW it was bad for me, but could NOT order it when I saw those numbers. I had the salad bar instead. Then I avoided Ruby Tuesday's until they changed their menu.

If you really want to know the calories or other nutrition information in fast food or restaurant food, you will find out ahead of time. These places offer pamphlets, websites, and there are books sold listing the numbers.

For me, I eat a nutritious diet at home, most of the time. I don't buy products that contain trans fat (among many other things). Occasionally, I enjoy going out to eat, and I will order something I know is not health food. But I want to eat normal junk food, not nightmarish junk food containing trans fat.

Comments about the "food police" and "dictatorship" have their place... They shouldn't ban junk food in general. But banning trans fat is a change that, done properly, the customer wouldn't even notice. It is looking out for them, banning a VERY harmful substance. The recommendation is to eat as little as possible per day, preferably NONE.
The WHO is wanting to ban the substance worldwide!

For those of you who think it is no one's business to ban trans fat, perhaps they should still allow people to build houses with asbestos, too.

You can have your chili cheese fries and eat them, they will still be bad for you and still taste great. It's not like they will be taking them away from you - they just won't be the kiss of death!

p.s. To SteveG - In Waco, TX there is a Dr. Pepper museum. You can buy Dr. Pepper there made with cane sugar syrup (the original recipe). That's the only place that I know of.

Posted by: Cathy | September 27, 2006 12:37 PM

By the way, trans fat is much worse for you than saturated fat.

Posted by: EdwardW | September 27, 2006 12:40 PM

The problem is that the people in this Country don't know what good-tasting food should taste like anymore. Some people actually think that Mac Donald's fries are "good-tasting" and the same goes for the chicken at KFC. A whole generation of Americans no longer knows how to eat well and how to eat good-tasting food that is actually good for you.In Italy (and the Mediterranean in general) everyone knows that cooking with olive oil is actually healthy and the taste is absolutely out of this world. Let's face it, America is fast-food nation and this is the only way the great majority of people here know how to it. So, I welcome any type of legislation that improves the quality of food in public eating establishments and ultimately the quality of life. Good job NYC Board of Health!

Posted by: Anthony | September 27, 2006 12:42 PM

How about banning trans fat from BABY FOODS? Do you know that Gerber uses it in their teething buisquits?! I was shocked when I looked at the label! C'mon, it's baby food!
And, please, stop telling me that poor people are forced to eat at McDonalds because it's cheap. It is soooo much cheaper to cook your own food, bring a sandwich or leftovers to work/school etc. I see so many low-income families relying on McD and other fast-food establishments as their primary food source and I cannot understand how in the world can they afford it? I can't afford to eat at McD or BK every day, how can they?! People need to re-learn the art of cooking. Every person on public assistance must take a cooking course and there should be a grocery shopping counselor showing the family how to buy inexpesive but relatively healthy foods and cook them.

Posted by: Elle | September 27, 2006 12:42 PM

Facepalm wrote: "Young kids, if you mean the caregiver-dependent set, should have caregiver involvement in their food choices. Again the issue is taking responsibility rather than telling the government to do it for us."

well, certainly, in an ideal world that would be the case, but given the number of kids I see everyday munching on their chips on the way to school -- their breakfast, I assume -- it's obvious that the caregivers are not doing their job, instead just giving the kids money, unconcerned with how they spend it. Of course, if we don't think its the govt's role to restrict harmful ingredients in food as a way of protecting our kids, maybe we should also tell the govt. to stop requiring us to put our infants in car seats, or making us slow down in school zones, etc.

Posted by: ralph | September 27, 2006 12:44 PM

I can't believe there's even an argument about this. Replace 'trans-fat in food' with 'lead in paint'. Was there an uproar because the mean ol' government wouldn't let the poor paint producers put lead in their products anymore?! It's the same thing! The government isn't saying what you can and can't eat-- you're welcome to eat all the junk you want! They're just regulating the amount of poison in the food you /are/ eating (which is their job, by the way).

Of all our rights that are being slowly eroded, this is not one of them. The government has always provided a check to companies that are trying to pass off hazardous stuff in the products they're selling to consumers.

Posted by: Melissa | September 27, 2006 12:50 PM

The government has no business banning trans fat! Or Marijuana, Absynthe, Cocaine, etc. These things at one time or another have been sold by companies (I'm looking at you Coca-cola!) and aren't harmful when taken in moderation, just like trans-fat. And Cocaine, Wormwood and Marijuana all occur naturally too, the companies have just found better ways to synthesize them, like trans-fat in Hydrogenated oils.
How dare the government tell us what we can and cannot eat, smoke snort, just because they are unhealthy when you take too much of it! Dictatorship!

Posted by: Will | September 27, 2006 12:51 PM

Those who are afraid of losing their freedom to eat whatever they choose are not realizing something: the law would give Americans MORE freedom - the freedom to know what they are eating and decide whether they want that amount of artery-clogging fat in their arteries.

Figuring out for ourselves how much trans fat or total fat in a dish is not always intuitive. Do we know what trans fat tastes like? No. Would the average person think a small, simple handful of crackers is fattening? Probably not. But would the average person be able to tell when there was indeed a "hidden" layer of hydrogenated oil mixed in with the batter to improve texture and shelf life? Again, perhaps not. But it's there, in too many foods.

In addition, fat has 9 calories per gram whereas carbs and proteins only have 4 calories per gram. That means a smaller portion of a high-fat food can have more calories than a larger portion of a high-carb or high-protein food. Therefore, it might intuitively seem better to eat the smaller portion of the fattier food, wouldn't it? Without the hard facts in front of them, people make mistakes like these all the time, whether they are more or less severe than this example.

Yes, everything in moderation is a good idea, and one big mac every once in a while may not matter. But trans fats have become widespread, and they are present in so many different foods from baked goods to fast foods, that a person may not be realizing their normal daily fare contains too much trans fat. The laws curbing trans fat would help guide the food industry toward assuming more responsibility in their creation of new products, and perhaps the food industry could use a healthier solution toward generating profits.

Posted by: SD | September 27, 2006 12:55 PM

I agree that trans fats are a problem; however I think it is one that the market, not the government, can handle.

People are realizing that these foods are bad for them and will start going to places that don't serve them. As said above, Wendy's doesn't serve trans fats anymore; they also don't sell a double cheeseburger for $1, a double cheeseburger will cost more. It's the price that you pay for eating "healthy" (if you want to call it that...though they do have many healthier options as does McD's)

As more and more people start to care, more and more people will choose restaurants/items that do not have trans fats, and sales for restaurants/items that have trans fat will go DOWN. A corporation cannot force you to purchase items with trans fats, and as sales go down, companies will be changing their product lines to reflect this new consumer awareness.

Look at the organic supermarkets. Organic food is better for you than regular. But 25 years ago you couldn't find them. The market learned about it and companies filled the DEMAND for organic products, but at a higher price.

Heck, look at coffee. 25 years ago, the canned coffee was junk, now you can walk into any coffee shop or supermarket and get delicious, fresh, strong coffee and all kinds of drinks you couldn't dream of 25 years ago.

Keep the government out of our diets, but I'll keep trans fat out of mine.

Posted by: Justin | September 27, 2006 12:56 PM

Outlaw transfat and only outlaws will have it!

Come on.

Sugar is bad, BAN IT, limit to one lump in coffee, put up a sign, no sugar eaters allowed.

Salt is bad, BAN IT, no more salt shakers on the table.

Olive Oil is bad, it is slippery, BAN IT,

Oh please help keep me safe Mr. Legislator. I can't live for myself, I can't make decisions, I need you Mr. Government.

By the way, if you think ANYTHING like this is ever going to bring down or slow down health care costs you are so naive that it is not funny.

Anyone whom wants to BAN things that are better left to the personal decisions of others likely support the concept of not keeping score in sports and every child must play and all the other things that they try to do to live their life through others....
Hello, pronto burger, make it a double please...

Posted by: Sully | September 27, 2006 12:57 PM

The market system would work of those controlling many of the market forces, IE: companies, were nopt actively engaged in campaigns of disinformation. Sdvertising, lobbying and profit margins give the company (an entity with no emotions or guilt) the advantage over the individual consumer.

Perfect example: You should be able to see that there are 65 grams of fat in a big mac when you order that. That's an unhealthy level and you should be informed. Not that it's unhealthy, just what the levels are. McDonalds actively opposes that because it's bad for sales. They are concerned with profit, not your safety, or even giving you an informed decision.

Posted by: WIll | September 27, 2006 1:00 PM

Pay your own damn healthcare, Sully.

Banning it in restaurants is different from banning it. Go get a big wad of crisco and go home and bathe in it, if you want. But don't cook up a chicken salad in a restaurant and add trans fat because it's cheaper. I'm thinking I'm getting helathy when I'm not. That's LYING.

Posted by: Will | September 27, 2006 1:02 PM

i'm 100% in support of this. this legislation is not against behavior, it's against products in commerce. very different.

Posted by: gabriel | September 27, 2006 1:15 PM

I am one of those people who calls places to find out the calorie/fat/nutrition information, and am constantly surprised at how many places just don't know!

I would love to see the information printed on menues, or avalible at request if they don't want it in the menu directly.

I think this is a good step forward in making us become a healthier nation.

Posted by: Lady_Adina | September 27, 2006 1:24 PM

Those of you who look at this as a rights issue are being childish. Food mfg. use this crap because it is cheaper, not because it tastes good. You're just so used to eating garbage that your palate can't tell the difference anymore.
Wake up, these additives are not food, they are toxic and they slowly kill the people who ingest them. Think about that for a minute, the next time you want to take your kid to McDonalds.

Posted by: Higgins | September 27, 2006 1:54 PM

There is a particular substance that:

1. Is found in the tumors of the terminally ill.

2. Causes automobile brakes to fail.

3. Can cause breathing to stop.

4. Is readily heated and can damage bare skin.

5. Is regularly made available to children.

How about it Herr Bloomberg, ban this stuff. By the way this stuff is more commonly known as water.

Posted by: Steve | September 27, 2006 2:00 PM

Gotchya "Concerned American":

"Then you pay for all your cancerous, obese and diabetic friends' exorbitant health care costs. Why should I be forced to pay for all your bad habits?"

I couldn't agree more!!! You shouldn't be. I shouldn't be. Someone wants to kill themselves with booze, smokes, cocaine, Ho-Ho's....whatever....go for it. Just don't expect my sympathy, or my subsidy of your health care. In exchange, I promise to SHUT UP AND LEAVE YOU ALONE!!! Why is this such a difficult concept!?

Posted by: Greg for NC | September 27, 2006 2:18 PM

I agree with all the posters who think this is too much legislation. As a thin person (size 0-2), I am happy to eat at restaurants occasionally and make healthy or unhealthy choices--that is MY choice. As an avid homecook, I also know that Crisco shortening, the old version of which contains trans fats, has a long shelf life and makes my pastry crust flakier than would butter alone. The ultimate problem is obesity; which is caused by Americans' insistence on instant gratification, laziness, etc. People need to have some personal responsibility. Everyone knows chosing down McyD's every day will make your thighs jiggle.

Posted by: DC | September 27, 2006 2:20 PM

Hey steve, I can use your logic too: "Jeffrey Dahmer was a Republican. Therefore all Republicans are serial killers."

Posted by: WIll | September 27, 2006 2:28 PM

Did you know that there are usually two camps on most things? For example, there are people who think that vegetable oil is healthy, and saturated fat is bad. But there are others who think that saturated fat is healthy and that vegetable oil is bad (I'm one of the latter, by the way)(olive oil is a fruit oil, not vegetable).

But everyone agrees that trans fat is not good. The best you'll get is that it's "okay in moderation" or "a little bit won't kill you." Nobody is pretending this stuff is good for you.

There's no GOOD reason to keep it around.
The problem is, it's cheap. When politely ASKED to stop serving trans fats, many places decided to ignore this plea. So now it's time to step it up a notch!

They can still make it available in the grocery store aisles, be it Crisco or snack items (that are properly labeled), but not in restaurant food. The snack food people are already getting the message and switching their ingredients, btw.

I agree with Elle. Fast food is not that cheap, it's cheaper to eat well at home. People are just lazy and do what's easy. Instant gratification.

Posted by: WhyMe | September 27, 2006 2:35 PM

WhyMe: Why shouldn't I be able to eat my key lime pie at a restaurant with pie crust made from Crisco?

Posted by: DC | September 27, 2006 2:38 PM

Will said:
"How dare the government tell us what we can and cannot eat, smoke snort, just because they are unhealthy when you take too much of it! Dictatorship!"

I say:
How dare the American public drive up my health insurance premiums to appease its whims and sense of entitlement? If those of you who prefer to keep transfats available and unlabled in the food you eat are willing to forgoe general health insurance and instead band together to form your own fund (and PAY for it), then I'll gladly rally for the individual's right to choose his or her poison. So long as your choices impact MY finances and quality of life, you will hear from me and others like me to regulate the substance. Capisce?

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | September 27, 2006 2:43 PM

Justin said:
"I agree that trans fats are a problem; however I think it is one that the market, not the government, can handle."

That is a better way of saying what I think. I agree, and this reflects my first post that all I want is information easily and conveniently available at the place I dine at (not everyone has a computer at home, nor are they inlcined to go to the library every time they want fast food!) It doesn't have to be ON the menu. I just want something that I can glance at should I request it while looking at the menu.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel again | September 27, 2006 2:46 PM

I wish people who insist on giving their rights away would stop volunteering to give mine away too.

Posted by: Wigwam Jones | September 27, 2006 2:46 PM

Cyan Squirrel has finally said what everyone else was afraid to openly admit. Using their logic, there is absolutely no limit to the amount of control on you and I that they would exert.

It's pretty clear that exercise, regularly required and heavily enforced on the masses, would reduce health care costs for our friend Cyan Squirrel, ergo that should be the law of the land. Anything to keep his precious premiums down. Perhaps they can schedule the forced exercise to coincide with the daily two-minute hate.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.....unless of course your notion of happiness in some way jeopardizes my HC premiums, in which case all bets are off. Capisce? Thanks for clarifying that Cyan...

Posted by: Greg from NC | September 27, 2006 2:51 PM

Justin said:
"I agree that trans fats are a problem; however I think it is one that the market, not the government, can handle."

That is a better way of saying what I think. I agree, and this reflects my first post that all I want is information easily and conveniently available at the place I dine at (not everyone has a computer at home, nor are they inlcined to go to the library every time they want fast food!) It doesn't have to be ON the menu. I just want something that I can glance at should I request it while looking at the menu.

Once I have that info, I can vote with my pocketbook and choose whatever poison I feel like ingesting that day. But I need INFORMATION!

Posted by: CyanSquirrel again | September 27, 2006 2:53 PM

"CyanSquirrel: How dare the American public drive up my health insurance premiums to appease its whims and sense of entitlement?"

We call that freedom, dearie. Perhaps you've heard of it. Individual citizens get to make their own decisions about how to live their lives as long as your RIGHTS are not violated. Cheap health insurance is not something you have a right to.

"So long as your choices impact MY finances and quality of life, you will hear from me and others like me to regulate the substance. Capisce?"

When are you planning to force a national exercise program, or demand national liposuction for the overweight? How about mandatory sterilization for those who refuse to lose weight and insist on having children?

Yeah, Sig Heil, Squirrel.

Posted by: Wigwam Jones | September 27, 2006 2:55 PM

Actually there are some healthcare groups trying to form that only allow those very health-conscious, clean-living people join. You know, vegetarians, people who exercise 3x a week, and such as that.
I think there should be different types of insurance with a different payscale, and people can join the group that fits them.

DC: Why should I never be able to eat a piece of key lime pie in a restaurant because everyone uses crisco in their pie crust? Why should I be forced to cook practically every morsel that passes through my lips?

Posted by: WhyMe | September 27, 2006 2:59 PM

We already have that, Mr. Jones. It's called Cochlear Implants to make deaf babies "hearing". I don't see the hearing world, most likely including you, up in arms about this forced physical "improvement". But you would be up in arms if requested to minimize your impact on my life, the same as I do my best to minimize my impact on yours? Interesting.

Since I cannot be granted an expectation of FAIR health insurance premiums because people instead insist on ensuring their lifestyle choices spill over and directly affect my welfare (physical and financial, among others), I suppose it's best to just go on the public dole. In that sense, by attaining Medicare and such, you, Mr. Jones, will be paying for my health care through taxpayer subsidy, in addition to your own healthcare, instead of me paying for yours.

Ironically, anyone who dares express dissent or stands up for the chronically oppressed (read, MINORITY who understand what limits a collective society must have placed on its freedoms so that, in the sense of Rawlsian justice, the least among us are not worse off because of our choices) in this chat...indeed in the country...is labeled a fascist, Nazi, or what have you. Say what you want. It only exposes your own insecurities.

Again, I request one thing: information on the products I may or may not purchase. The health insurance debate is nominal and not the main point I tried to make.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | September 27, 2006 3:09 PM

The Government can't watch every mouthful of food we stuff ourselves with. People who want the Gov't to control what we eat will be the first ones to complain if the Gov't wants to listen in on our telephone calls. Whatever happened to 'personal responsibility?' We need to be informed enough to make the right choices. People too young to make informed decisions should have those choices made by their parents/guardians/school lunch programs.

When I was in school the Gov't provided milk, butter and cheese to schools. Now our generation is having heart and cholesterol problems because of these dietary donations by the Gov't. Now we have fast food restaurants on just about every street corner, not to mention Starbucks -- hooray! Caffeine added to the mix. People have become too lazy to cook at home anymore. Surprising considering how easy and economical it is.

Putting labels on cigarette packs and liquor bottles hasn't reduced the amount of lung cancer and drunk driving deaths. Obviously people aren't paying attention to them. I did a term paper on fetal alcohol syndrome in college and I cringe whenever I see a pregnant woman drinking and want to grab that drink out of her hands. Why? If you have ever seen a fetal alcohol baby, you'd never drink again. God forbid you produce one --- the blame -- BLAME -- rests solely on the mother. It's not genetic or environmental -- it's caused by the alcohol in the mother's body that effects the fetus. Anything that makes a 130-pound woman drunk will permanently damage a tiny fetus during development.

So, the obese, the clogged arteries, the emphasema cases, the diabetics are largely to blame for their predicament. Just make the right choices, and we all have choices. My grandmother used to say of fat people "They're digging their grave with a knife and fork." Those attending your funeral will just shake their heads at how stupid you were.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | September 27, 2006 3:09 PM

"Actually there are some healthcare groups trying to form that only allow those very health-conscious, clean-living people join. You know, vegetarians, people who exercise 3x a week, and such as that.
I think there should be different types of insurance with a different payscale, and people can join the group that fits them."

While that might be a good idea in theory, it just does not seem like something that would work in real life. How would the healthcare provider know that you are clean living? Send a personal trainer to your house to make sure that you are taking vitamins and going for your daily workout? If you put on a few pounds over the holidays, would you be forced to switch plans?

Posted by: riddler | September 27, 2006 3:09 PM

CyanSquirrel, you have a point. I apologize.

Posted by: Wigwam Jones | September 27, 2006 3:21 PM

I hate how our govt. has become our parent in this day in age just as much as many of you, but you are missing the point.

If this was a ban on mercury, nobody here would question it.

Trans-fat is a toxic substance. It's not on the level of mercury, of course, but there is absolutely no positive benefit known to science, and anything above trace amounts is correlated with increases in total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (ldl). The only reason it's used is because it's cheap and easy.

I'm all for a ban on trans-fats.

-Jeff

Posted by: Jeff | September 27, 2006 3:27 PM

Cyan- I was being sarcastic when I mentioned that Drugs should be legal because they're a personal choice. I though wormwood would've tipped most people off.

Anyway, I hardly see 'trans-fat' as a great harbinger of the erosion of personal rights. If the majority of the city want a ban, then it should pass. No different than smoking. ANd I'm a smoker. I can still smoke in my house and swim in crisco if I want. However, for the majority of people who live in the 5 boroughs and have no earthly idea how to say 'trans-fat' let alone what it is, it's a good idea to protect them from it.

McDonalds is a multi-billion dollar corporation, they'll figure out a way to make their food tasty without injecting it with a hydrogenated, saturated rendering bi-product.

Posted by: Will | September 27, 2006 4:19 PM

I'm mixed on this. On the one hand I'm opposed to the increasing trend of legislating what businesses and citizens can or cannot do. Having said that, I truly believe that transfats are truly dangerous in a way that we don't yet fully understand. I'm especially worried that kids and young adults, aware of the dangers of tobacco and alcohol, have no concept of the dangers associated with transfats. On balance, I'd probably prefer to not have a legislated ban on transfats, but certainly the dialogue created by this radical proposal is not a bad thing.

Posted by: Marc | September 27, 2006 5:09 PM

To the poster looking for sugar sodas (instead of corn syrup):

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both have them

Posted by: k | September 27, 2006 5:13 PM

I for one would not be terribly disappointed if transfats were to completely disappear, but I am uncomfortable with the complete ban that a number of posters have espoused. I generally do not think that we can simply legislate away our problems - if people are educated about the dangers of transfats and where they can be found, then I don't think we should entirely deny them the right to consume them, just as people should be able to eat lead and plastic if they want to. Transfats are not the same as cigarettes because they do not have the same kinds of externalities associated with sitting next to the person who is consuming them.

Education and disclosure is an appropriate solution - the market will likely dictate a significant decrease in the use of transfats (Wendy's is an excellent example of this market reaction). If we remain unsatisfied, then perhaps we should consider some alternatives such as taxation.

Posted by: Bill Baxter | September 27, 2006 5:20 PM

Put labels on the menu and the packaging and then let us make decisions for ourselves. To me, if the information is there and someone decides to go against common sense, it's called culling the herd.

Posted by: NKinNYC | September 27, 2006 5:55 PM

The problem is that trans fat can be found in the most innocent seeming foods. Everyone knows that donuts and french fries are bad. Few people know that animal crackers and powdered coffee creamer are full of trans fat. Trans fat comes when products use partially hydrogenated oil. Partially hydrogenated oil, in and of itself, does not offer anything of value to the consumer -it does not enhance taste, texture, or flavor in any way. It enhances shelf life. It benefits only the manufacturer or the seller at the health risk of those who consume it. Hooray NYC! Most people are ignorant about trans fat. Thus the bacon comment above -bacon doesn't even have trans fat. This is not about saturated or other naturally occurring fat. This is about man-made fat that occurs because manufacturers want to get richer by prolonging shelf lives.

Posted by: Down with trans fat!!!! | September 27, 2006 5:56 PM

First, trans fat do not alter flavor significantly. I recent ate at a restaurant that switched to using non-hydrogenated oil to cook their meat, french fries, etc with. I could tell no difference in taste than the last time I ate there (before the switch).

Banning trans fat is stupid. It's in beef and in dairy products. It's produced in the stomachs of ruminants (cows). Beef is the primary source of protein for humans. So should we ban meat from cows, deer, etc? The banning of partially hydrogenated oils (and fully hydrogenated, because saturated fat isn't too great either) would stop the consumption of hidden trans fat. Why is it necessary to be in everything from french fries to "just add water" quick meals? McDonald's makes enough money to afford the switch. Kraft can afford it. Better yet, find another way to make oil last a long time without damaging human health. Don't just use a process from over 100 years ago!

Posted by: 111 | September 27, 2006 6:39 PM

I say force everyone to eat more transfat and smoke more cigarettes so that spotted owls can take over the planet.

Posted by: abnox | September 27, 2006 6:51 PM

I understand the logic behind these bans, like smoking and now, trans fats, but adovates always say these will save "thousands" of lives and prevent heart attacks.

And yet, after smoking is banned and I'm sure trans fats as well, plenty of people still have heart disease.

Does anyone ever compare stats to see if heart disease deaths have really dropped? I doubt it.

Posted by: Mike | September 27, 2006 7:01 PM

Although it may seem subtle, there's a big difference between cis fats and trans fats.

"Instead of being eliminated, trans fats are incorporated into cell membranes as if they were cis fats--your cells actually become partially hydrogenated! Once in place, trans fatty acids with their misplaced hydrogen atoms wreak havoc in cell metabolism because chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns, which the hydrogenation process has disturbed.
" Altered partially hydrogenated fats made from vegetable oils actually block utilization of essential fatty acids, causing many deleterious effects including sexual dysfunction, increased blood cholesterol and paralysis of the immune system. Consumption of hydrogenated fats is associated with a host of other serious diseases, not only cancer but also atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity, sterility, difficulty in lactation and problems with bones and tendons. The popularity of partially hydrogenated margarine over butter represents a triumph of advertising duplicity over common sense. Your best defense is to avoid it like the plague."
-Mary Enig, PhD
http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/skinny.html

Here is a link about trans fat labeling, written back before they were listing trans fat separately on packaging:
http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/translabeling.html

Posted by: Cathy | September 27, 2006 9:22 PM

I agree with this: "They're digging their grave with a knife and fork."

I would prefer if it weren't legislated - if it just stopped being used. I actually don't care if it's in the occasional pie crust, but trans fats are so ubiquitous right now, it's ridiculous.

Posted by: WhyMe | September 27, 2006 9:26 PM

What a waste. All those words and nothing that helps me alter my behavior.

Posted by: Dwight McBain | September 27, 2006 9:29 PM

You want a good article about trans fat, here it is:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/reviews/transfats.html

And to answer one of the original questions:
Yes, knowing how unhealthy a food is does stop me from eating it on a regular basis. I may eat a serving on a special occasion, a knowing choice. I've brought my own organic butter to restaurants before. And I've also skipped meals when there wasn't anything acceptable to eat.

Posted by: gumby | September 27, 2006 10:07 PM

111 said:
"Banning trans fat is stupid. It's in beef and in dairy products. It's produced in the stomachs of ruminants (cows). Beef is the primary source of protein for humans. So should we ban meat from cows, deer, etc? The banning of partially hydrogenated oils (and fully hydrogenated, because saturated fat isn't too great either) would stop the consumption of hidden trans fat."

I agree with that. The banning of partially and fully hydrogenated oils would be a better goal. Not only would it be veritably impossible to ban naturally occurring trans fats, but also research has shown that these naturally occurring trans fats are not harmful, they act differently in the body!

Also to clarify, fully hydrogenated oil is fully saturated with hydrogen atoms, but it is not saturated in the same way as what we usually think of as saturated fat, such as coconut oil or butter. That is why we differentiate with the term "trans fat" because the two used to be lumped together, which was not fair, and actually due to some faulty studies, gave saturated fats an unfairly bad name.

I think there is a lot of confusion among the general public (and even health professionals) regarding terminology, definitions and assumptions that does not help this situation one iota.

Posted by: Cathy | September 27, 2006 10:26 PM

"A fat food tax?"

Actually, I wouldn't mind that at all. Why should it be cheaper for me to buy a burger than a salad? Why is that the coupons in the Sunday paper are all for processed food?

I realize that it's cheaper to keep these foods longer (while you have to throw old produce away routinely). But that doesn't mean that it's helping the obesity problem in this country.

Posted by: a | September 28, 2006 8:08 AM

As a medical student, there are two things I've been reading that I need to respond to before I pull my hair out.

1. To the charge that trans-fats are okay in "moderation," that is absolutely wrong. There is NO SAFE LEVEL OF TRANS-FATS. We've simply normalized the minimum that we might indulge in. The very fact that they are trans fatty acids--long biochemical story short--means that they "stack" much more easily as compared to non-trans fats (cis fats). Please stop thinking of trans fats as something that "can't be avoided" or as something that "is okay in moderation." That is more true for saturated fat. Trans fat happens to be an unsaturated fat, but unlike the mono, poly, and omega3 unsaturated fats, trans is simply awful for you and didn't even come into the human diet until 100 years ago.

2. You don't think that other people's bad diet habits or that the food industry's willingness to pull the shades over their sketchy cooking methods apply to you? It's no different from cigarette smoking. PEOPLE GET SICK--and with conditions related to obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, which are among the most common health dehabilitators we have in this country. Money is lost in the billions not only to health costs, but to lost productivity. Guess where the corporations pass the cost on? You. And it's no different for health costs spillover. On top of that, when doctors/cardiologists give patients instructions on how to take care of themselves, it would help a lot if those instructions were sustainable--meaning that they can live in the real world and buy food knowing what's in it and not being fooled into thinking that something is healthy when it is not.


Please wake up and stop thinking that just because you can make rational decisions for yourself that other people's bad ones don't affect you. Some of us drive better than others but that doesn't mean only some of us need to pay attention to the red light.

Posted by: nadine | September 28, 2006 8:10 AM

So only restaurants that have tried to help people eat healthier by listing their nutritional content on their websites will be punished by the Board of Health requiring them to now list the calorie counts on their menus and menu boards? This doesn't encourage restaurants to move in the right direction on their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 28, 2006 10:12 AM

As a weight watcher, I would be very happy to have all kinds of "unknown" ingredients banned! If you want to get really depressed, just start tracking every bite that goes in your mouth! Many prople have no idea......we do need someone's help!

Posted by: Sandi | September 28, 2006 10:38 AM

Gumby

"I've brought my own organic butter to restaurants before"

Oh boy, i bet the kitchen had a laugh at that. Wonder if they put some extra butter in your food!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 28, 2006 10:56 AM

There are two arguments here. The one that says that the government has to keep food companies and restaurants in check and the other that says that people should make their own decisions.

Well, I see it this way. If you notice, most of the people who are over weight and eat regularly at McDonalds, Burger King and other fast food joints are from low income households. This is even more evident by the commercials designed to target these groups. These people simply can't afford to purchase higher quality foods. Perhaps the dollar menu at McDonalds is the only thing in their budget, because supermarkets certainly aren't getting cheaper!

So you can safely say that these people don't have a choice. Or perhaps they are not educated enough to make informed decisions. Yes, its true! Not all Americans are nutritionally savy. However, when these people end up in hospitals and medical clinics for coronary and/or other treatments, we (the rest of us) end up paying health rising insurance premiums and health care costs.

It's a lose lose situation for everyone. This is why unnessessary fats like trans fat are dangerous to our health and our wallets and must be eliminated.

Posted by: Dan | September 28, 2006 11:54 AM

Let me clarify for the reading challenged: no one wants to keep you from slamming down a sandwich with 40g a fat. They just want to disallow the use of a harmful, man made *replacement* 40g of fat to save 2 cents when it has been clinically proven to make people sick. NYC is saying use as much lard, peanut oil, beef tallow, etc as you want, just don't use the man made garbage that makes their health care bill larger and people die sooner. It's kind of like w/ asbestos, the gov't didn't say you couldn't insulate houses but they said you couldn't use the substance proven to cause respiratory ailments to do so. This actually has the potential to save big restaurant chains huge in the long run by perhaps avoiding some of the inevitable "you mean you used a man made substance in your food that was known to cause heart disease to save a few bucks" lawsuits.

Posted by: jc | September 28, 2006 12:09 PM

Trans fat is yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: I dont matter | September 28, 2006 12:15 PM

Trans fat is yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: I dont matter | September 28, 2006 12:17 PM

im afatty who loves transfat so i think its retarded that they are doing this crap!

Posted by: bobby haris | September 28, 2006 12:18 PM

NYC is lucky. I wish we had a Board of Health in Cleveland, where it's up to the local Channel 19 News to police the restaurants. Last night I went into a bakery and saw flies on the open stuff and flies on the cased goods.

People are foolhardy to pay so little attention to what they eat, compared to everything else.

Read the book "Spoiled" by Nicols Fox and ask any epidemiologist you know if he/she eats at McDonald's or Wendy's.

Posted by: CH | September 28, 2006 1:31 PM

Two other books to read are 'Fast Food Nation' and 'The Jungle.' As I posted in a previous blog, my dad worked in a slaughterhouse/meat packing plant after he returned from WWII. He wouldn't eat hot dogs or lunch meat because he saw the conditions in the meat packing process. He also saw a co-worker lose a finger in a meat slicer.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | September 28, 2006 1:46 PM

yes tthis is good now the band should go all around the country!!!!!

Posted by: tij | September 28, 2006 2:25 PM

I dont understand this. We all know the this crap is bad for us, yet we still eat it. If we all get off our butts and make snacks for our sevles so we dont have to have "convenience food" this wouldn't be a problem. Also, alittle exercise doesn't hurt.And don't give me a dumb excuse like "I don't have time". Stop watching TV for 4 hours a night and get off your butt and move. Bottom Line:Excercise and eating healthy foods often will work wonders for your health. WE DONT NEED THE GOVERMENT TO CONTROL OUR LIVES, CONTROL YOUR OWN LIFE!!!

Posted by: JY1983 | September 28, 2006 2:32 PM

Do you realize what a pack of spoiled brats some of you sound like? "This is as bad for you as lead in paint or mercury in water, so we are banning it." What's your response? "YOU CAN'T TELL ME I CAN'T HAVE IT! I WANT TRANS FATS! I WANT TRANS FATS! BOOHOOHOOHOOHOO!" Morons.

But listen, if you really really want trans fats, you can still get them, even in NYC. Just head to a grocery and load up on Ring Dings and Pringles.

Posted by: Magilla | September 28, 2006 2:33 PM

Of course as adults we can make choices. I could care less if an informed adult chooses to gorge on trans fats, it's their funeral. But this ban is good news for children, especially those of uniformed, or impoverished families that can't afford decent food. Kids don't care about what they eat, as long as it tastes good. Besides, there are plenty of fats out there that are actually good for you, like coconut oil & high quality butter. For more on healthy fats & the lies we're told about food, see http://www.westonaprice.org it's a bacon lover's dream come true. Here is an excerpt:

The food industry justifies the use of trans fats with the claim that the alternative, saturated fats, raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. This premise is completely false. Before the introduction of trans fats into the food supply, Americans consumed large amounts of saturated fat in butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil and palm oil, yet myocardial infarction (heart attack) was unknown. Today, the European countries with the highest level of saturated fat consumption (France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Iceland, Belgium, Finland and Austria) have the lowest rates of heart disease and the countries with the lowest level of saturated fat consumption (Ukraine, Macedonia, Croatia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Georgia) have the highest rates of heart disease. Saturated animal fats provide many nutrients that protect our most important muscle, the heart, including cholesterol, which is vital to the function of our muscles. A recent study found that saturated fats can actually reverse atherosclerosis (Am J Clin Nutr 80 2004 1175-84).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 28, 2006 2:43 PM

We absolutely should be allowed to make our own choices. So, why is McDonald's and most FF chains marketing primarily to kids who do not make the choices of what they eat? One obvious reason is that they have the most buying power for the next 60 years.

Hook them early, and they might even fight for their right to eat transfat later in life.

To include ingredients that are known to be harmful while focusing marketing efforts on children is borderline criminal. Ban trans fats--no one will miss them.

Posted by: Cort | September 28, 2006 2:47 PM

"I've brought my own organic butter to restaurants before"

Gumby, if you're that obsessed with eating healthy foods, you might want to get yourself checked for an eating disorder.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 28, 2006 2:56 PM

Let's hear it for the nanny state! Hopefully they can legislate fornication and bowel movements after this.

Posted by: square.wave | September 28, 2006 3:13 PM

I would enjoy low Trans fats at mandicoties so it tastes good and is good for me 2. Go spaget carbinara!

Posted by: Healthy sudent | September 28, 2006 4:22 PM

always blame on third party. It is never our fault when we get sick even though nobody put
guns to our head to eat, drink, smoke etc. So this new rule will save few hundreds of lives??. Alcohol kills several hundred times of this, not only themself who drink they kill and mame other people including family yet government passed this ridiculous law as if they care!!! Give us a break. All those wonderful beer ad in TV during sport broadcast, they all look handsome, pretty and having a good time. I think government should subsidize beer company to promote "wonderful lives"

Posted by: young kim | September 28, 2006 5:03 PM

If restaurants dont need to tell us what's in the food we are eating, then why does everything in the supermarket have to have labels on it? I like it better with no labels anywhere, then I don't need to think. Let restaurants cook food however they want, let food companies make food however they want - why should they have to tell me what's in it? Who cares if it causes cancer or heart disease in 20 years, as long as its cheap and tastes good today.

Posted by: FatAlbert | September 28, 2006 6:50 PM

Has this thread been Godwinized yet? No?

http://www.bakedpenguin.com

Posted by: BakedPenguin | September 28, 2006 8:29 PM

Lets see America is getting more obese, more diabetes, and health care costs are going out of control...
Shall we do anything about it...
No,lets stick our head in the ground...Oh gee its already there....
The only problem with this solution is that it is only one very small step in the right direction.
Most people here are complaining about control BUT

If an emminent doctor came up to you and said your 8 year old child will die at a much earlier age if you did not change the way they ate and they told you what to do to keep your child healthy..
HOW many of you would let your child continue to eat something that was killing them or dangerously harmful if you could stop them?

Well UNCLE SAM says... I care about you,,, dont eat this so you can stick around longer....and if you wont do it your self then I will do it for you because I love you...

Enough said....

Posted by: Lou | September 28, 2006 8:54 PM

1st of all, I didn't tell the restaurant that I was bringing my own butter. When the waitress wasn't looking, I snuck it out of my pocketbook. And I only brought it because I had been to the place before and I know that they ONLY had margarine.
I cannot in good conscience use margarine. For that matter, anything that I know has trans fat.

I do not have an eating disorder. Since when is going to some extra trouble to make sure I eat healthy, non-toxic food an eating disorder? If that is an eating disorder, then more americans need to have one.

For dinner tonight I made juicy, fatty meatloaf, fresh asparagus stir-fried in butter, and peas. Then I ate a small piece of apricot almond cake (made with butter, no trans fat) someone brought me from Switzerland. My dinner was mostly organic, and nothing bad for you. It isn't junk food, but it isn't a spartan obsessive diet like "nothing but sprouts", either.

Posted by: gumby | September 28, 2006 9:08 PM

I think some of people miss the point, how and why the trans-fat became an alternitive.

It was substitute for tallow and lard (beef and pork fats) of which is many times worse.

Now given the black eye that the trans fats have, what is left? Do we go back to the old fats or become human guinea pig some poorly tested alternatives?

Posted by: RJ | September 28, 2006 9:21 PM

I believe it was George McDonald who once said, "Freedom is not the right to do what you want, but the power to do what is right."

People always talk about freedom as the right to do whatever they want to do. That's true but only to an extent. We still have rules. You aren't free to go kill somebody, for example, even if you want to.
You should be free to do the right thing.
In this case, the right thing is to eat food that is good for you. But it's particularly hard to do right now, since some toxic junk is in almost everything right now. Even some foods that people think are healthy have this dangerous substance hidden inside.

This is just trying to make things a little less bad for you, so that you don't have to bend over backwards to avoid something very, very dangerous (trans fat).
You are still free to choose healthy food and junk food.
It is actually enabling the people of NYC More Free!
Free to be healthy and enjoy life!

Posted by: PepperZ | September 28, 2006 9:51 PM

RJ, just read your comment.

Yes, go back to lard and beef tallow!
Trans fat "hydrogenated" oils are MUCH worse for you! Much much MUCH worse!
And of course, there are all the non-hydrogenated oils. Food fried in peanut oil tastes really good, for example.

Those people who are so worried about avoiding lard, butter, and beef tallow should realize that trans fats are much scarier, a million times worse for them, and should be avoided all the more!

As scared as people are of "lard", they should be 500 times more scared of "partially hydrogenated oil." Those people who would avoid lard like the plague should reconsider the trans fat they put in their mouth, they have got it backwards.

Posted by: PepperZ | September 28, 2006 9:58 PM

Please stop calling this a public health issue! AIDS and STD are public health issues, as are polio, small pox, TB and many other diseases which can effect the population against their will.

Continue down this road and we will all be eating soylent green.

Posted by: Dewey | September 28, 2006 11:30 PM

If we ban trans fats, the terrorists win.

Posted by: cj | September 29, 2006 3:53 AM

Now, Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job.

Posted by: Dubya | September 29, 2006 3:54 AM

I live in Denmark, and trans fats were banned here in March of 2003. I havent noticed a change in the quality or taste of food, and I think it has been a positive step.
For more information on the Danish law that was passed, it can be read in English on the following link.

http://www.tfx.org.uk/page116.html

Posted by: Vicki | September 29, 2006 5:51 AM

I don't think this article is healthy. Maybe New york should ban it.

Posted by: Bart | September 29, 2006 8:08 AM

"Trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and many many other man-made ingredients in our foods are creating an obesity epidemic."

Since you're a liberal I'd like to point out that the reason high fructose corn syrup is used in soda produced in this country is because 1) corn is subsidized by the federal government and 2) there is an embargo on Cuban sugar.

If the government left well enough alone maybe we wouldn't have corn syrup in our sodas and a mcdonalds on every corner peddling poison in their food.

Ironic no?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 12:58 PM

I don't see what the big deal is. Food will still taste good, you can eat whatever you want, it just won't be as bad for you.
Get a grip!

Posted by: HERCULES | September 29, 2006 1:08 PM

People here are complaining about government regulating food while at the same time a bill is sailing through Congress authorizing warrantless wiretapping of US citizens. I hope this forum represents a skewed subset of the American public. However, I am not overly hopeful.

Posted by: Chris H | September 29, 2006 1:34 PM

If they want to ban a really harmful substance, they should ban booze. But no, they won't even consider that because too many of the indulge in that sinful pleasure. Whoever proposes this nonsense should be horsewhipped for stupidity.

Posted by: John Ehrlich | September 29, 2006 3:17 PM

Makes good sense to me. What is there to be so fearful of? The only thing that does not make sense is that cigarrettes are still legal. But I'll take the trans fat ban over nothing.

Posted by: Geri | September 29, 2006 4:52 PM

They tried banning booze, it was called the Prohibition. People will still find a way to drink even if it's outlawed, just like they do drugs.
But perhaps restaurants shouldn't serve alcohol, or make people take a breathalizer before they leave the restaurant, to prevent people from driving drunk after a meal.

Obviously trans fat is not the ONLY issue in America. Cigarettes, booze, corn syrup, Iraq, wire tapping, etc. are definitely issues. It doesn't mean this one's not important. It doesn't make banning trans fat a bad move.

re: wire tapping
That's like Communist China! Where the majority of citizens have never heard of the Tienamen Square incident!
Hmm, let's see... wire tapping, covering up government crime... sound like any country you know?

Posted by: me | September 29, 2006 9:07 PM

Let people regulate themselves..it is not the resturants problem..it is the individuals responsibility.

Posted by: Nsaylor | October 3, 2006 12:46 PM

"Is there a minimal amount of trans fat we should eat, or is any amount just bad, bad, bad? I don't eat any trans fat normally. I rarely eat at restaurants, so I am not being poisoned by them, either."

No. The maximum amount of trans fat you should consume is ZERO grams. It's that bad, really. That's why it is an urgent public health issue.

Posted by: Anne | October 12, 2006 10:09 AM

"Blah blah blah, feed me poision, blah blah blah, I'm ignorant of anything more than the superficials of my 5 senses: it looks. it tastes. it smells. it sounds. it feels."

THIS STUFF, if you wish to be informed, (which is a bedrock of American Democracy -informed consent) CLOGS ARTERIES.

"duh, what's an art-er-something?"

THIS STUFF MAY VERY WELL CAUSE DIABETES.

"duh, what's di-er-reer?"

THIS STUFF RAISES THE BAD CHOLESTEROL(LDL).

"duh, what's bad colesteron?
I thoughted coleaderon was good for you."

BE IGNORANT IF YOU WANT.
Like I say, "Forget(or a similar work that starts with F) the dumb."

Posted by: SEAN | November 1, 2006 5:28 PM

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