French fries

If you like to cook and you want your food to last until the end of days, then go get yourself a big ole’ vat of trans-fat. Trans-fat, or trans fatty acids, is made via the industrial process of adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils.

Trans-fat is not natural, but, it’s cost effective! Trans-fat helps extend the shelf-life of processed foods, like snack cakes.

Fast food chains use a lot of trans-fat – or at least they used to. Following bans on trans-fat in places like New York, a new report says fast food joints Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s have reduced how much trans-fat they use.

Presented at last week’s National Nutrient Database Conference, researchers claim popular fast food chains have substantially cut down the use of trans-fat in their cooking oils. Foods like french fries are often cooked in trans-fat.

Even still, health advocates have been pressuring global health authorities to regulate that only trace amounts of trans-fat be allowed in food.

Comparing data on five different fast food restaurants – McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, and Dairy Queen – researchers found between 1997 and 2008, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s significantly reduced trans-fat usage, but Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen did not.

Started in 2006, trans-fat content is required on all Nutrition Facts labels.

Since trans-fat is an unnatural compound it wreaks havoc in the body; lowering HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and raising LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

In 2006, the New York City Board of Health voted to ban trans-fat from restaurants, and in 2008, California announced its own ban.