Out of Control Policy Blog

Poison! ÷ Poison?

New York and Philly have banned it, and if a new bill passes Connecticut could be the first state to ban the hyped-up threat of the moment‚Äďtrans fats:

    Dr. David Katz, one of several experts to present testimony on trans fat Monday during a public hearing before the state legislature's Public Health Committee, said trans fat is a poison that should be banned from restaurant use.

Why not ban beef and milk too? After all, the "poison" is in them as well.

Not that the health police care much, but some restaurant owners point out some economic downsides:

    John Strom, the owner of Billy Beans Cafe in Danbury, said that while he also made the switch, alternative oils that don't contain trans fat tend to be more expensive and have to be replaced more often.

And now this:

    [S]ome nutrition and health analysts say the preoccupation with trans fats has gone too far.

    They say that in some cases, trans fats simply are being replaced with other unhealthy oils. And at a time when 66% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, the analysts say the nation's fixation with trans fats is drawing attention away from other important reasons that Americans' diets are so bad for their hearts: They continue to consume too many calories, too much junk food and not enough fruits and vegetables.

    "It is important to remind ourselves that changing oils and removing trans fat does not magically turn a deep-fried food into a health food," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Wellness Institute in Chicago and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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