Surprised? NYC trans fat ban really did keep people out of the hospital

❝ In 2006, New York City passed a law banning artificial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated fats, in all restaurant foods. The law was first applied to fried foods — but not fried bread products like donuts — before taking effect for all restaurant foods in July 2008. A study released on Wednesday in the Journal of American Medical Association Cardiology found that the law, criticized by some as evidence of a “nanny state”, actually lead to a six percent decline in hospitalizations and strokes

❝ It’s been known since the 1950s that eating a lot of saturated fats is associated with heart attacks and poor cardiovascular health. Saturated fats are a kind of fat found primarily in animal products like lard and butter…and tend to be solid at room temperature. They get their name because, while all fats are made of long chains of carbon atoms, the carbon molecules that make up saturated fats share no double bonds—instead, they are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules…

Unsaturated fats, which tend to be liquid at room temperature, share double bonds between their carbon molecules and are often, but not exclusively, found in vegetables oils. Monounsaturated oils — like corn, peanut, and soy oil — have just one double carbon bond. Polyunsaturated fats (the so called ‘healthy fats’ like the omega-3 fats found in salmon or olive oil) have many double carbon bonds.

❝ The problem is that while unsaturated fats are healthier, they’re also tougher to use. They aren’t as versatile…And saturated fats, apart from being artery cloggers, also tend to go rancid…In the 1950s, researchers realized they could substitute animal fats with vegetable oils by using a hydrogen reaction to turn an unsaturated fat into a partially hydrogenated fat—one with many of the same properties as a saturated fat, but with less, well, saturated fat. Voila, they made margarine.

❝ Researchers didn’t invent trans fats—not exactly. Trans fats are naturally present in meat, but only in minuscule amounts. By finding a process to turn unsaturated fats into partially saturated fats, however, scientists set the stage for people to consume a lot of trans fats all at once for the first time…

❝ Artificial trans fats, as it turns out, are actually worse for humans than saturated fats. Not only do they raise our LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) just like saturated fats do, but unlike saturated fats, they also lower the HDL (“good cholesterol”), increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fat consumption is also associated with development of diabetes and dementia.

❝ The JAMA study, which analyzed data from the New York State Department of Public Health from 2002-2013 and compared rates of hospitalization between the 11 New York State counties (five of which comprise New York City) which banned trans fat between 2007 and 2011, suggests that the research is right. Trans fats can be deadly.

Given the track record for our Federal Government in general and Congress in specific, we can expect them to climb on board with this science in, say, 8 or 10 years. Or more.

Even electing a reasonably sane government populated with a fair number of folks who comprehend as much science as a 6th grader – after we shove the Trumpkins and neo-cons out to pasture – it will take a few years just to undo the stupidity put in place during the reign of populist idiocracy.

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