Science King County To Trans Fats: Get Bent
posted by July 19 at 9:23 AMon
Today the King County Board of Health will vote on banning trans fats.
From my column this week:
In 1911 Crisco food chemists, seeking a cheaper and more-shelf-stable fat for industrial baking, came up with a clever idea: turn the bends in cheap unsaturated fats into kinks, creating trans fats. A kinked chain can pack in like a straight one, allowing tasty baked goods at a lower price. And as an added bonus, because kinked fats are unnatural, they take longer to spoil. Brilliant! But the problem is our livers hate these fats, and they protest by pumping out way less good HDL cholesterol than normal. Plus, each additional 2 percent of your calories from trans fats nearly doubles your risk of getting heart disease, which is why every reputable source agrees there is no “safe” amount of trans fat in your diet.
Two percent of calories is about 5 grams of trans fat – one muffin, a small order of fries, or 5 double-stuffed Oreos (before they were reformulated) per day.
The proposed ban would only affect restaurants, not pre-packaged food.
The legislation would require all food establishments with operating permits from Public Health – Seattle & King County to discontinue using products that contain 0.5 grams or more of artificial trans fat per serving, excluding pre-packaged foods with nutritional labels. The implementation timeframe will be addressed by the Board of Health’s Advisory Committee on Nutrition at its July 9th meeting and will be incorporated immediately into the proposed legislation.
Read the FAQ [PDF] for more information, or attend the meeting today at 1:30pm in the King County Courthouse, Room 1001.