Trans fats have definitely infiltrated this meal of hamburger and fried potatoes. The burger probably contains few of the fats, but the fat in which the potatoes were fried probably contained the chemicals.

Photograph by Rich Soublet, MyShot
  • On December 5, 2006, New York became the first city in the United States to ban trans fats at restaurants.

    The city's Board of Health voted unanimously that all New York City restaurants, from fine pastry shops to pizza joints, had until July 2008 to completely remove trans fats from items on their menus. Additionally, all chain restaurants need to provide calorie counts for their menu items.

    Trans fats form when liquid oils are turned into solid fats by adding hydrogen. Major food sources of trans fats include fried potatoes, commercial baked goods (cakes, cookies, bread, crackers, doughnuts), margarine, and animal products. Trans fats have been proven to increase the likelihood of clogged arteries and heart disease.

    Trans fats are a relatively new food additive. Manufacturers add trans fats to their products because they are a low-cost alternative to butter and help products stay fresh longer. If a food item is less perishable, it can travel further, and remain edible (and sellable) for a longer time.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    ban Verb

    to prohibit, or not allow.

    calorie Noun

    unit of energy from food, equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

    city Noun

    large settlement with a high population density.

    edible Adjective

    able to be eaten and digested.

    hydrogen Noun

    chemical element with the symbol H, whose most common isotope consists of a single electron and a single proton.

    pastry Noun

    food item, such as pie crust or doughnuts, made from dough.