New York City health officials are crowing over a victory they’re claiming over the forces of trans fats, after a new study says the city’s ban has actually helped citizens consume less of the stuff. That change in eating habits should then lead to a healthier population overall, says the report.
The study conducted by the officials from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says the results of the ban show that the city’s fast food restaurants, coffee shops and other eating establishments can play a major role in improving the health of the public at large.
Officials wanted to see if the 2008 regulation, which prohibited all restaurants from serving food prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or dishes that contain more than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving, actually ended up making any kind of real difference for consumers dining out. Studies have shown that adding fewer than 4.5 grams of trans fats to a 2,000-calorie daily diet could increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 23%, notes the Los Angeles Times.
Researchers checked out the lunch receipts of thousands of fast food diners in 2007 and 2009 and found that people were eating 2.4 fewer grams of trans fat per lunch meal after the ban went into effect.
“Given that one-third of calories 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 authors reported.
In order to stay on the good side of such regulations and consumers’ demands for healthier fare, many in the food industry have moved toward reformulating products instead of fighting the rules.