A recent study shows that New Yorkers are eating much less of the trans fat since the ban took effect back in 2008.
The city passed the ban back in 2006 that limited the amount of trans fat per serving to be less than 0.5 grams.
Americans eat about a third of their meals away from the home which meant at the time a larger consumption of this dangerous fat. Trans fats are even more dangerous than saturated fats because not only do they raise total cholesterol levels but also lower good cholesterol, which helps fight against heart disease.
The recent study done by Christine Curtis, MBA, of the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and colleagues looked to see how much, if at all, the effect of the ban was having on New Yorkers. They looked at 6,969 lunch receipts from before in 2007 and 7,885 after the ban in 2009. They reported their findings in the July 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
They found the trans fat content per meal fell by a mean of 2.4 g, from 2.91 in 2007 to 0.51 g in 2009. Notedly, the greatest drop was at hamburger chains, followed by Mexican and fried chicken restaurants.
Perhaps just as even more important was the discovery that the restaurants did not just exchange the trans fat for another unhealthy option. Consumers are legitimately eating healthier food.
This doesn’t mean that fast or junk food can be considered a healthy option, only that it is slightly better than it used to be. Eliminating trans fat is a good first step towards addressing all the unhealthy food options that exist at fast food chains.
New York City has also made it a requirement to post calories on menus. A study found that this has only helped about 15 percent of diners choose healthier options but by doing this they cut out about 100 calories.
The next big push right now is the ban on sugary sodas. It is believed that these beverages are a leading cause for the obesity epidemic. New York is currently trying to ban the sale of super-sized sodas and other sweetened drinks by its restaurants, movie theaters and street carts.