Fast Food Chains Have Significantly Decreased Trans Fats in Cooking Oils, Study Finds

Published:August 19th, 2010

ScienceDaily— New research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health have found out that five major fast food businesses have already reduced their trans fat levels in cooking oils – in response to the growing clamor of the public to raise health awareness for the weight conscious, and to possibly, help decrease the growing obesity problem.

French fries became the basis of the study – researchers looked into the French fries of five major fast food chains: McDonald’s, Burger Kind, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, and Dairy Queen. Study authors discovered that only three of these five fast food chains significantly reduced trans fat levels in their foods from 1997 to 2008. Reported of these three chains were McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King. The 2 other restaurants didn’t report a decrease in trans fat during the time frame of the study, though it was later reported that these two chains have only decreased their trans fat levels in 2008. These results were mentioned during the National Nutrient Database Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Lisa Harnack, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and director of the Nutrition Coordinating Center considers this as good news, considering that efforts were done to reduce the trans fat levels – though calories and sodium are still considerably high which sets moderation to be the primary recommendation.

Series of studies conducted in the past have always pointed out the harmful effects of high trans fat levels in cooking oil used to prepare foods, not only in bad cholesterol levels raising coronary and diabetes risks, but also in terms of ever-growing obesity and harmful weight gain. The US Congress enacted a law requiring food companies to list trans fat content in their food labels.

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