Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

NYC Trans Fat Ban Cuts Consumption

Four years after New York City's widely publicized prohibition, citizens are eating less trans fats.

close-up french fry wall macro

Photo: Scott Ableman (Flickr)

Don't forget, fries bathed in saturated fats are bad for you too.

Four Years Later

Four years after New York City’s widely publicized prohibition of trans fats in fast food went into effect, a study conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is showing improvement in citizens’ eating habits.

Trans fatty acids are considered dangerous because they simultaneously raise ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and lower ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) in the blood stream, drastically increasing consumers’ risk for cardiovascular illness. An increase of just 4.5 grams of trans fats to a 2,000 calorie daily diet can up one’s risk of heart disease by 23%.

The ban was enacted in July of 2008 after being passed unanimously by the New York Board of Health. Once it was approved, restaurants in New York City had 18 months to wean themselves off of ingredients containing artificial trans fatty acids.

Collective Consumption

In 2007, researchers examined the receipts of nearly 7,000 people who dined at fast food restaurants. The data collection was repeated in 2009, with closer to 8,000 receipts.

The study showed that, over the course of two years, New Yorkers reduced their consumption an average of 2.4 grams of trans fats in a typical lunch.

Balancing Gains

Tipping the balance slightly, declines in trans fat consumption were accompanied by a slight increase in saturated fat consumption — an uptick of about 0.55 grams. Saturated fat is also correlated with increases in LDL cholesterol levels.

On the whole, though, the picture is positive.

“Given that one-third of calories [consumed] in the United States comes from food prepared away from home, this suggests a remarkable achievement in potential cardiovascular risk reduction through food policy,” the study’s authors told the Los Angeles Times.

Read More:

  • New York trans fat ban has cut consumption, study finds (Los Angeles Times)
  • New York City passes trans fat ban (MSNBC)
  • HDL Cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol (The Mayo Clinic)
Jain Waldrip

Jain Waldrip loves food, nature and talking endlessly. Her foodie interests reflect her Texan roots and her sordid vegetarian past. She is proud of having inherited her father's sense of direction, so she therefore navigates only by using restaurants as reference points.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media