Sunday, July 27, 2008

California bans restaurants from using trans fats

California on Friday became the first state to ban trans fats from restaurant food, following several cities and major fast-food chains in erasing the notorious artery-clogger from menus. The legislation signed by Schwarzenegger will take effect Jan. 1, 2010, for oil, shortening and margarine used in spreads or for frying. Restaurants could continue using trans fats to deep-fry yeast dough and in cake batter until Jan. 1, 2011.

Most trans fats are created when vegetable oil is treated with hydrogen to create baked and fried goods with a longer shelf life. Stephen Joseph, a Tiburon attorney who was a consultant to New York City in developing its ban, said trans fat is a larger health risk than saturated fat because it reduces so-called good cholesterol.

A 2006 review of trans fat studies by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded there was a strong connection between consumption of trans fats and heart disease. Studies also have linked trans fats to diabetes, obesity, infertility in women and some types of cancer.

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