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A recently published study has shown that the ban on the use of Trans-Fats by restaurants in NYC has led to a significant reduction in consumption.
The ban, which took effect in 2008, prohibits all restaurants from serving food prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or dishes that contain more than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving.
The study, conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, surveyed customers and collected receipts for nearly 15,000 lunchtime purchases at fast-food chains around the city in 2007 and 2009, before and after the ban was in place. After comparing the trans-fat and saturated fat content of the purchased items, it was found that the trans-fat consumption dropped an average of 2.4 grams since the ban was put into place.
Its not an isolated incident, as over the last 10 years, trans-fat consumption has dropped by more than 50% nationwide. This is due to a combination of such fat bans, which were initiated in another 15 cities after NYC, as well as more informative food-labeling. This provides clear evidence that certain public health initiatives do work.
There were fears when the ban was introduced in 2007, that saturated fats would replace trans-fats or that a switch to healthier oils would be more expensive, resulting in higher food prices. Yet to date, neither of these concerns have materialized.
New initiatives such as the ban on super-sized sugary drinks and proposed regulations on calorie limits in certain foods have been met with the usual stiff opposition. But many health regulators and nutritionists are in favor of such increased regulations and say they should become the default rather than just a side option.