Trans fat restrictions lead to healthier fast foods, study says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 23, 2012

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New York City’s 2006 ban on nearly all artificial trans fats in restaurants has led to healthier fast-food meals for residents, says a study published in the July 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mean trans-fat content per lunchtime purchase at 11 fast-food restaurant chains decreased by 2.4 grams between 2007 and 2009, falling from 2.9 to 0.51 grams, the study said (link).

Hamburger chains experienced the greatest decline per purchase, falling 3.8 grams from 2007. A slight increase in trans fat content per purchase (0.1 gram) was seen in purchases at sandwich chains. Consuming trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oil, significantly increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researchers assessed 14,854 receipts from adults exiting national fast-food chains in New York City between March and June in 2007 (before the restrictions on trans fats were fully implemented) and 2009 (after the regulations took effect). The restaurants included hamburger, sandwich and fried chicken chains. Receipts were excluded if the purchase was for more than one person or if the individual did not buy a food item.

The concern by some that restaurant chains would replace trans fats with saturated fats was not observed, the study authors said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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