What You Should Know About the FDA Trans Fat Ban

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a move to ban trans fats from processed foods. Wondering what this ban means for you and the future of the food industry? We have all the information you need:

What are trans fats?Fast Food

First of all, some may be wondering what trans fats are, and why they even matter. Trans fats often come from hydrogenated oils, which are the primary source for artificial trans fats in processed foods. These are used in processed food to improve taste, hold artificial coloring, and help foods last longer on the shelf. Trans fats are considered a major health concern in America as they have been found to be linked to heart disease. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest says they cause 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year. They also raise the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, which can build up in people’s arteries, leading to even more health concerns.

What does the FDA’s trans fat ban mean for the food industry and the consumer?

This ban is not a sudden decision; on the contrary, it has been coming on gradually for several years. In 2006, New York became the first major U.S. city to ban the use of trans fats in restaurants and bakeries. That same year the FDA started to require food companies to include trans fat information in their nutrition labels. More recently in 2013, the FDA declared that partially hydrogenated oils were not thought to be safe for human health. Over the years, many major food manufacturers have voluntarily removed trans fats from products, which has helped to reduce their overall consumption by about 80% from 2003 to 2012, according to the FDA.

Last week’s decision by the FDA give food companies even more time to comply with the new regulations to eliminate the use of trans fats in common foods, such as popcorn, baked goods, and margarine. Over the next few years, consumers can expect to see some changes in the food labels, and probably in the taste, of these common items. The elimination of trans fats from many of America’s most popular foods has the potential to have huge positive effects on public health. Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, estimated that over 20 years the economic benefits of banning partially hydrogenated oils could be between $117 billion and $242 billion.

How can you keep your heart healthy?

If you are worried about your heart health or cholesterol levels, a good first step is to get cholesterol and heart health testing. Test Smartly Labs is experienced in this type of testing and has many locations across the country. To schedule a test, find your nearest Test Smartly Labs location here. Making good choices for your health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.