Hi all! I thought the whole trans fat ban was such a timely topic, I asked my stellar summer nutrition intern, Jennifer, to weigh in as well. Here's what she has to say:
D-Day for the Ban Against Trans Fats in NYC The New York City health department demarcated July 1 as the official day to begin banning artificial trans fat in restaurant food. Baked goods and fried foods must be trans fat free, or restaurateurs risk being fined up to $2,000.
Restaurant owners were extremely fearful of the switch from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to natural ingredients like butter and lard because they were not sure if they could replicate the taste and texture their customers loved. Believe it or not, a Trans Fat Help Center was actually set up to help with the transition. Companies were also hired to ensure that comfort – food recipes, such as chocolate chip cookies and pie crusts, had the same "mouth feel" without trans fats as they did before. Besides worrying about changes in taste, some owners are estimating a 20% increase in cost to bake without trans fats. One item at Panera Bread got so complicated for them to replicate that they just took it off the menu altogether.
Alternatives are being created to help with the texture issue that restaurateurs have been complaining about, but they are extremely high in saturated fat (with 25% being on the low end!). Some doctors worry that New Yorkers will think they can eat more baked and processed goods due to the fact that they are trans fat free and forget that saturated fat should still be limited.
Bottom line: Make whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods the major contributors to your diet; they're the best fuel for your body. Oh yeah, and you won’t have to worry as much about obesity and heart disease down the road.