Fast Food Chains Cut Back on Trans-Fat


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.

Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese

Gerry is your typical yoga practicing, no pizza or meat eating Italian guy from New Jersey. Seriously, his family still isn't speaking to him. Professionally, Gerrys been Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD's blogger since 2005.