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    FDA proposes trans fat ban; NO PIE CRUSTS FOR YOU!

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    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publicly stated for the first time on Thursday that trans fat is not safe and should be banned.

    The proposed ban comes years after restaurants have already cut back on the use of the artery-clogging substance, prompted in part greater public awareness and a 2006 FDA requirement that food labels include trans fat content. Many fast food chains have stopped using trans fat for frying; however, many menu items still contain large amounts of the bad-cholesterol-raising stuff, such as in the case of the pies and cinnamon rolls found at McDonald's.

    Despite the rule, the FDA currently allows food producers to label an item as having "0 grams trans fat" if it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, meaning people could unwittingly consume considerable quantities of the substance. The proposed ban would restrict the use of any amount of trans fat.

    Trans fat is the by-product of blasting hydrogen gas through vegetable oil. The process generates a solid, stable substance that can make foods creamy (like coffee creamer), consistent (it keeps peanut butter from separating) or flaky and light, as is in the case of pie crusts, crackers and pastries.

    Before trans fat was evil, it was good. Hydrogenated oils were once thought to be healthier alternatives to fat fat. Remember when people believed margarine better for the heart than butter? But in the 1990s studies showed that diets high in trans fat were linked to higher incidence of heart disease, raised levels of bad cholesterol, diabetes and stroke, encouraging calls for regulation.


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