Trans fat

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Trans-isomer unsaturated fat, more commonly known as trans fat, is a fat present in many popular foods, especially fast food and snack foods. They have been shown to be slightly more unhealthy than saturated fat. Specifically, trans fat lowers "good cholesterol" (HDL) and raises "bad cholesterol" (LDL),[1] unlike saturated fat which raises both. Trans fat is usually artificial, and almost never occurs naturally. It is created by partially hydrogenating vegetable oil. (Fully hydrogenated oil contains no trans fat, but higher levels of saturated fat.)

Anti-business bans

Concern over the negative health aspects of trans fat has led to several anti-business bans on trans fats in places such as New York City, Boston and the state of California[2], usually instated by liberal politicians. These bans, while lowering consumption levels of trans fat, absolve the blame from the consumer who chooses to eat trans fats, and instead places the burden on often struggling restaurants and chefs who have been left wondering "how the trans fat ban will affect the bottom line"[3].

Other solutions

A more reasonable regulation is the FDA’s requirement that food companies include trans fat content on the nutrition facts chart[4]. First mandated on January 1, 2006, this has led to greater awareness of trans fat, and many food companies have voluntarily eliminated trans fat from their products. However, an amount of less than .5 grams per serving may be listed as 0 grams or “trans fat free.”

A change in the mindset of the obese and overweight to eat less and exercise more is also helpful. President George H. W. Bush started the Presidential Physical Fitness program with Arnold Schwarzenegger to get people active and fit, a good step in the right direction.


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