FDA To Ban Trans Fat And Save Countless Lives

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Think of all the food you eat that includes trans fat. Pancake mix, margarine, cookies, and crackers.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is making a bold move to ban trans fat because it’s no longer deemed safe. “Current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a written statement.

Though trans fat intake among Americans has steadily decreased from 4.6 grams per day to one gram per day, it still isn’t enough. According to Hamburg, there is no safe consumption of trans fat.

Consumption of trans fat, particularly if you eat a lot of it, can lead to complications later down the line, such as risk of coronary heart disease, the promotion of Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Not many people are aware of the potential dangers of over-consumption of trans fat. The amount of trans fat was not even required to be listed in on food product’s nutritional facts until the FDA mandated it in 2003. If the ban proves successful, the FDA believes it will prevent 7,000 and 20,000 heart attacks per year.

Trans fat is found in mostly processed foods, such as coffee creamer, frozen pizza, popcorn, and refrigerated dough like Pillsbury. McDonalds used to have trans fat in their fried food, but has ceased all trans fat from being used across the board.

On Thursday, New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg—who pushed the soda ban—applauded the FDA’s move to ban trans fat. In 2006, New York City was the first in the nation to prohibit restaurants from using most trans fat under his administration.

“The groundbreaking public health policies we have adopted here in New York City have become a model for the nation for one reason: They’ve worked,” Bloomberg said. “Today, New Yorkers’ life expectancy is far higher than the national average, and we’ve achieved dramatic reductions in disease, including heart disease. The FDA deserves great credit for taking this step, which will help Americans live longer, healthier lives.”

Currently, the FDA’s proposal is open for comment over the next 60 days. During this period, food industry experts and others will determine how long phasing out trans fat from food would take.