Disease Proof

Trans Fat: The Great Debate

Trans fat has become quite the hot topic. Not all that surprising really. We’re a desperately fat nation, so of course we’re scrambling for a quick fix! Why not ban trans fat? Why not? Good question. And for me it’s not one with an easy answer.

Sure, it does make sense to ban a reportedly harmful substance, but what about choice? Shouldn’t you have the freedom to consume trans fat if you really want to? Do we need government intervention here? This is why, believe it or not, I’m both for and against the ban on trans fat. And no, I’m not normally a fence-sitter. It’s just this one has me stumped.

Now some people have stronger convictions than me. As you’ll see, not everyone sits on the perch of indecision. Here are some reader opinions from the numerous DiseaseProof posts on trans fat. And in case your like me, maybe they’ll help you decide:
NYC: Trans Fat is Toast
Louise: You're torn? I can't believe it! The Harvard School of Public Health and Wageningen University has found that removing trans fats from the industrial food supply could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and cardiac deaths each year in the U.S. The public depends on the government protecting them from harmful consumer products, especially food and drugs. Maybe you're in favor of legalizing drugs as well?

It's better for society if laws conform to benefit the human organism.

New York Times On Banning Trans Fat
Jackie Danicki: Look, the way you get people to take responsibility for their health is not to revoke the degree to which they must take responsibility for their health. It is sad that so many people choose to eat themselves to death - which they could do without trans-fats, as it happens - but the ugly truth is that it is their choice to make.

My choices are what led me to being very overweight, and my choices have brought me down by more than 100 pounds. No amount of interfering from the government would have made a difference. How many people do you know who are obese because of trans-fats alone? Or is it more realistic to say that people become obese because they don't have active lifestyles, they have sedentary existences, and they overeat in huge quantities? It is the latter, of course. Unless you plan to start forcing people to exercise by law, under threat of jail and fines, it makes no sense to start using jail and fines to dictate what food people can eat.

Leave Trans Fat Alone?
Helena: I think trans fat should go, obviously, but I am not sure a ban will accomplish major health benefits. I think the dangers of trans fat are grossly overrated. Sure, the stuff is evil, but trans fat free French fries are still evil. I cringe every time I see those "heart healthy" fries advertised around here and I am not even sure that soybean oil fried fries are that much healthier than trans fatty fries. In the end, I really do not think it matters much.

Howard Stern On Trans-Fat
Diana: It has to be BANNED because otherwise most restaurants will continue to have trans-fats in much of what they serve, and they won't be forced to eliminate it. That leaves very few options for people that would like the CHOICE of eating healthy when out.

They don't NEED to use it! Food does not taste better with trans-fats!
Clearly there is no shortage of opinions on trans fat. Obviously it’s a big deal. Heck, according to The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles is planning to study other cities’ bans on trans fat. Maybe another ban is the horizon. Read on:
Public health officials will be asked to review the issue with the restaurant industry and community health organizations, and to study whether the county can regulate trans fats at restaurants countywide or just in unincorporated areas.

Jot Condie, president of the 22,000-member California Restaurant Association, said he's open to suggestions but believes banning something widely used in homes "has more cons than pros."
Sound off on this one. We could always use more viewpoints for the pile.
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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
healthybpm - January 15, 2007 5:18 AM

Practically everything that we pull off the shelves has an unhealthy ingredient in it. Banning trans fat is just the tip of the iceberg.Be it fake sugars or oil or salt or mono sodium glutamate, we constantly crave for unhealthy food.

I am just as stumped as you are.

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