FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the agency is “responding to the fact that the science really demonstrates that trans fat provides no known health benefit and that there really is no safe level of consumption of trans fat,” reports USA Today. “Consumption should be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.”
Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils, are mostly found in baked goods, canned frosting, margarine, coffee creamers and microwave popcorn, Hamburg explains. It’s used to increase product shelf life and keep flavors stable.
But those flavors come at a cost, say some nutrition experts, including health problems likes a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) and uptick in LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5,000 American a year die of heart disease linked to trans fat in the food supply, and a further 15,000 will get heart disease.
Right now it sounds like most people are on board with the idea — and can you think of anyone who really looooves trans fat? — with advocates calling it a “lifesaving” move.
“I think it’s one of the most important lifesaving actions that the FDA could take,” Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. told USA Today.
For anyone who does want to weigh in on either side of the trans fat line, there will be a 60-day public comment period on the FDA’s plan. If it goes ahead, the FDA will pull trans fat from its list of ingredients that are generally regarded as safe.
It won’t be an immediate switch, warns Hamburg, saying it’s jut the first step in a process that will probably take a few years. You can’t just yank an ingredient and expect food manufacturers to find a replacement at the drop of a trans fat hat.
FDA moves to take trans fat out of food [USA Today]