New York City Ban on Trans Fats Yields Results


According to a new study, the New York City 2006 ban on artificial trans fats has made a positive impact. Trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death. With the high rate at which people eat out or order take out, it was hoped that banning restaurants from using this oil could produce a healthier population.


Measuring the Impact of the Ban

Trans fat, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, is a type of fat that increases the level of LDL cholesterol and decreases the level of HDL or “good “cholesterol in the blood. Besides heart disease, this type of fat has also been associated with higher risks of stroke and type 2 diabetes. These fats are artificially produced because they do not appear in great volumes naturally. They have been used widely in snacks and other fried and baked goods. The ban forced restaurant owners to look for alternative sources of oils.

Researchers wanted to observe the impact of the trans fat ban. The best way to do this, they found, was to take blood samples from a group of New York City residents both before and after the ban was imposed.

The samples for the study were taken during a health and nutrition survey that asked the participants about their dining habits. Some blood samples were taken from New York City residents in 2004, and others were taken between 2013 and 2014. The analysis of these showed that trans fat levels in the blood had decreased by 57%. For residents who ate out more often, there was a greater decline in blood trans fat levels of 62%.

The deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Queens, Sonia Angell, was a co-author to the study, which has been published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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