2006_9_health_burger.jpgFast food may get a lot less tasty a little less unhealthy. Yesterday, our fair city's Health Department proposed measures to decrease the use of artificial trans fat at restaurants that can't seem to do it for themselves. The new law would limit restaurants to 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving. How much fat is that exactly? Well, a typical McDonald's hamburger contains 0.5 gm of TF and a yummy, yummy Big Mac contains 1.5 gm of the stuff, so its still quite a bit. This comes on the heels of a citywide yearlong campaign, which tried to reduce restaurant use of trans fats through education and awareness. Even though about 20,000 restaurants did actually did reduce or stop their usage (seems like a lot to us), the DOH feels that the program didn't do enough. So the government's stepping in to take care of you.

The City Health Commissioner, Thomas Frieden, likened TFs to lead paint, as both are invisible and dangerous. And not to mention delicious! TFs are found in some margarines, desserts, and fast food and are basically created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil (hydrogenation), allowing foods to last longer. While adding flavor to our favorite foods, they also pack the 1-2 punch of raising LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while lowering HDL (the good stuff). With less HDL, your body is less efficient at getting rid of fatty acids which kill you softly by hardening your arteries.

The Health Department shares that the average American stuffs down 6 grams of TFs a day with 60% of the country officially overweight and 30% obese. While this all strikes us as a bit big-brotherish, we might actually welcome the help. Even with restaurants providing nutritional info on their menu offerings, studies suggest that due to poor reading and math skills, a lot of Americans can't even read or understand them.

Do you think the government should be controlling the ingredients used in restaurants or should we be allowed to become the chubbos we want to be?

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