Banning Trans Fat in Processed Foods but Not Animal Fat

Banning Trans Fat in Processed Foods but Not Animal Fat
4.75 (95%) 88 votes

After the trans fat oil ban, the only remaining major sources of trans fat will be from meat and dairy.

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The years of healthy life lost due to our consumption of trans fats is “comparable to the impact of” conditions like meningitis, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis. But, if food zealots get their wish in banning added trans fats, what’s next? “[V]ested corporate interests” rally around these kinds of “slippery slope” arguments to distract from the fact that people are dying.

New York Mayor Bloomberg was decried as a “meddling nanny” for his trans-fat ban and attempt to cap soft drink sizes. How dare he try to manipulate consumer choice? But, isn’t that what the industry’s done? In 1950, “[a] twelve-ounce soda…was [the] king-sized” option. Now, that’s like the kiddie size.

Similarly, with trans fats, it was the industry that limited our choice by putting trans fats in everything without even telling us. So, who’s the nanny now?

New York City finally won its trans-fat fight, preserving its status as a public health leader. “For example, it took decades to achieve a national prohibition of lead paint, despite unequivocal evidence for harm.” But New York led the way, banning it “18 years before federal action.”

There’s irony in the slippery slope argument that first, they came for your fries; next, they’ll come for your burger. After the trans fat-oil ban, one of the only sources of trans fat left will be in the meat itself. “Trans fats naturally exist in small amounts in the fat in meat and milk,” as I’ve talked about before. Animal products only used to provide about a fifth of America’s trans-fat intake, but since the U.S. trans fat-ban exempts animal products, they will soon take over as the leading source.

In Denmark, for example, now that added trans fats are banned, the only real trans fat exposure left is from animal products found in U.S. dairy, beef, chicken fat, turkey meat, lunch meat, hot dogs—with trace amounts in vegetable oils, due to the refining process.

The question is: are animal trans fats as bad as processed food-trans fats? A compilation of randomized interventional trials found that they both make bad cholesterol go up; they both make good cholesterol go down; and so, they both make the ratio of bad to good go up, which is bad. So, all trans fats cause negative effects, “irrespective of their origin.” They suspect that removing natural trans fats from the diet too could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks. But, unlike processed foods, you can’t remove trans fats from milk and meat, because trans fats are there naturally.

The livestock industry suggests a little bit of their trans fats might not be too bad. But you saw the same everything-in-moderation-argument coming from the “Institute of Shortening” after industrial trans fats were first exposed as a threat. The bottom line is that “all sources of trans fat should [probably] be minimized.” The trans fat in processed foods can be banned, and just adhering to the current dietary guidelines to restrict saturated fat intake, which is primarily found in meat and dairy as well, would kind of automatically cut trans fat intake from animal fats.

The reason no progress may have been made on animal trans fat reduction in Denmark is because The [Danish] Nutrition Council that pushed for the trans fat ban was a joint initiative of “The [Danish] Medical Association and The [Danish] Dairy Board.” They recognized that “the economic support from The [Danish] Dairy Council could be perceived as problematic” from a scientific integrity point of view. But not to worry, the medical association expanded the board and funding members to include “the Danish pork industry, the Danish meat industry, The Poultry and Egg Council”, as well as Big Margarine.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Baloon Designs and romzicon from the Noun Project.

Image credit: Daniel Oines via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The years of healthy life lost due to our consumption of trans fats is “comparable to the impact of” conditions like meningitis, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis. But, if food zealots get their wish in banning added trans fats, what’s next? “[V]ested corporate interests” rally around these kinds of “slippery slope” arguments to distract from the fact that people are dying.

New York Mayor Bloomberg was decried as a “meddling nanny” for his trans-fat ban and attempt to cap soft drink sizes. How dare he try to manipulate consumer choice? But, isn’t that what the industry’s done? In 1950, “[a] twelve-ounce soda…was [the] king-sized” option. Now, that’s like the kiddie size.

Similarly, with trans fats, it was the industry that limited our choice by putting trans fats in everything without even telling us. So, who’s the nanny now?

New York City finally won its trans-fat fight, preserving its status as a public health leader. “For example, it took decades to achieve a national prohibition of lead paint, despite unequivocal evidence for harm.” But New York led the way, banning it “18 years before federal action.”

There’s irony in the slippery slope argument that first, they came for your fries; next, they’ll come for your burger. After the trans fat-oil ban, one of the only sources of trans fat left will be in the meat itself. “Trans fats naturally exist in small amounts in the fat in meat and milk,” as I’ve talked about before. Animal products only used to provide about a fifth of America’s trans-fat intake, but since the U.S. trans fat-ban exempts animal products, they will soon take over as the leading source.

In Denmark, for example, now that added trans fats are banned, the only real trans fat exposure left is from animal products found in U.S. dairy, beef, chicken fat, turkey meat, lunch meat, hot dogs—with trace amounts in vegetable oils, due to the refining process.

The question is: are animal trans fats as bad as processed food-trans fats? A compilation of randomized interventional trials found that they both make bad cholesterol go up; they both make good cholesterol go down; and so, they both make the ratio of bad to good go up, which is bad. So, all trans fats cause negative effects, “irrespective of their origin.” They suspect that removing natural trans fats from the diet too could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks. But, unlike processed foods, you can’t remove trans fats from milk and meat, because trans fats are there naturally.

The livestock industry suggests a little bit of their trans fats might not be too bad. But you saw the same everything-in-moderation-argument coming from the “Institute of Shortening” after industrial trans fats were first exposed as a threat. The bottom line is that “all sources of trans fat should [probably] be minimized.” The trans fat in processed foods can be banned, and just adhering to the current dietary guidelines to restrict saturated fat intake, which is primarily found in meat and dairy as well, would kind of automatically cut trans fat intake from animal fats.

The reason no progress may have been made on animal trans fat reduction in Denmark is because The [Danish] Nutrition Council that pushed for the trans fat ban was a joint initiative of “The [Danish] Medical Association and The [Danish] Dairy Board.” They recognized that “the economic support from The [Danish] Dairy Council could be perceived as problematic” from a scientific integrity point of view. But not to worry, the medical association expanded the board and funding members to include “the Danish pork industry, the Danish meat industry, The Poultry and Egg Council”, as well as Big Margarine.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Baloon Designs and romzicon from the Noun Project.

Image credit: Daniel Oines via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

If people want to eat trans fat, isn’t that their right? Yes, but only if they’re informed about the risks—yet The Food Industry Wants the Public Confused About Nutrition.

For more on the industry pushback, see my video Controversy Over the Trans Fat Ban.

There does not appear to be a safe level of exposure to trans fat—or to saturated fat or dietary cholesterol, for that matter. See Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

If you find these videos about industry influence on public policy compelling, check out my many others, including:

Note that the concept of raising or lowering HDL (the so-called good cholesterol) playing a causal role in heart disease has come into question. See Coconut Oil and the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This