FDA to ban trans fats, will prevent more than 7,000 deaths per year

The FDA, often criticized for allowing toxic substances to be sold as food, is taking a major step toward preventing disease. Hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, will no longer be “Generally Recognized As Safe” or GRAS for short.

This means that manufacturers will no longer be allowed to sell them without first producing scientific proof that they are safe. And frankly, no one could prove such a thing, without resorting to fuzzy math, trickery, deceit and outright corruption.

In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published a review article entitle “Trans Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” wherein that the authors cautioned against even conducting a long-term trial, saying that it would be “unethical, given the adverse effects of trans fats on serum lipid levels and inflammation”.

Using hydrogenated oil instead of healthy oil helps the bottom line of the manufacturer by increasing the shelf life and lowering the cost of its products, but they are terrible for your body. Several studies have implicated trans fats in a variety of conditions like heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

Trans Fat cause Heart Disease

The World Health Organization reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and others, in the April 16, 2006 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine:

“On a per-calorie basis, trans fats appear to increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease more than any other macronutrient, conferring a substantially increased risk at low levels of consumption… In an analysis of nearly 140,000 subjects, a 2 percent increase in energy intake from trans fatty acids was associated with a 23 percent increase in the incidence of Coronary Heart Disease.

Prior to 2006, the FDA did not require manufacturers to disclose the inclusion of trans fats on labels of their packaged goods. Americans were consuming a large daily dose of a deadly toxin without so much as a tiny warning on the label. Since the FDA began requiring that trans fats be labeled, the food industry has dramatically reduced the amount of trans fats used in its products. According to the FDA, Americans consumed about 4.6 grams of trans fats per day in 2003 compared to about 1 gram per day in 2012.

Unfortunately, many products still contain these dangerous semi-solid oils and often people don’t read the labels, and some may not understand the dangers of trans fats.

If the FDA’s current motion is successful in effectively banning trans fats from manufactured foods, Americans are likely to suffer 20,000 fewer heart attacks per year, and about 7,000 untimely deaths from heart attacks will be prevented.  This measure, which is  long overdue, sadly won’t come into effect immediately.

The FDA made its decision to require trans fats to be labeled in 2003, but that measure did not come into effect until 2006.

Although I do applaud the FDA for eventually making the right moves on this particular toxin, one simply cannot afford to rely on the FDA for food safety in the predictable near future. When you go to the supermarket, it would be wise to bring a magnifying glass to help you scrutinize every item that you will feed to your family.  For the next undetermined time you must be on the lookout for trans fats under all its criminal aliases, including “partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil” , “margarine” and “shortening”.