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Give Me Trans Fat or Give Me Death

3/14/2008 11:22:00 AM
I'm sure you've read it already. It was on the front page of everything today. The City of Boston has officially banned trans fat. I blogged about it months ago (here) and my attitude has only changed slightly.

I still do not appreciate the idea of the government telling me what I can and cannot eat. Which part of my attitude has changed? Well after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories - see my review (here) - I'm no longer of the mindset that it's fat that is the main culprit. I am now a believer that it's carbs. Fat probably isn't good for me either, so for now I've been sticking with fruits/veggies and protein.

You know what makes this dangerous? I'm going to use a firearm example - all you anti-gun people don't get mad. So in 1998 MA passed a gun law requiring all these extra safety measures in guns. Glock (everyone's heard of Glock right?) decided not to comply and just not sell in MA anymore. So now, any Glock that you want to buy in MA has to be a preowned one that was in the state prior to the passing of the law in 1998. Now, I know this won't happen, but what if McDonald's decided - I like trans fat, I'm just going to close down all the McDonald's in Boston. Where would I get my Egg McMuffins?

I don't know much about cooking with trans fats, so I'm hoping that stuff still tastes just as good as it used to. Or maybe I'll move to New Hampshire and petition to change the motto to "Live Free & Eat Trans Fat, or Die"

Click (here) to read the Globe article.

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9 Response to "Give Me Trans Fat or Give Me Death"

  1. Suldog Said,

    The thing I'm worried about - and I don't know if I need to be - is peanut butter. I really, really like the more sugary commercial brands, like Skippy or Jif. And those contain hydrogenated oils. If those have to come off of the shelves because of this law, I will personally firebomb someone.

    Posted on 3/14/08, 12:13 PM

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Actually, by switching to rice bran oil, you avoid the whole trans-fat issue. Rice oil is what many restaurants have switched to in the wake of the trans-fat screeching and it's pretty darn good. It has a higher smoke point (meaning, it can withstand higher heat before breaking down and burning)and has all the good stuff that olive oil does. This means that the higher the temp on the oil the less will cling to the food after the cooking process is completed. Fries come out super crispy with a nutty flavor that's rather appealing.

    Here's the downside: it's expensive. A 500 ML bottle can run you $6.00 or more depending, and I've only seen it in gourmet or specialty stores.

    Posted on 3/14/08, 12:38 PM

  3. Beantown Bloggery Said,

    To Suldog,
    Maybe i should start a business selling pre-ban peanut butter in Boston. There's a thriving business selling pre '98 glocks. But then again, since the ban is only in Boston right now and not state-wide, could you just drive to a grocery store in a different town and get what you needed there?

    Posted on 3/14/08, 4:24 PM

  4. Suldog Said,


    I just heard over on U-Hub that PB contains no trans-fats. I am overjoyed.

    (By the way, I live in Watertown, so it wasn't an immediate concern, but you know how these things go. One community falls after another. First New York, then Boston, then Watertown...)

    Posted on 3/14/08, 5:01 PM

  5. Jeff Said,

    The sad thing is that they didn't need to do this. Look through a supermarket and you'll find plenty of foods that are already advertising their lack of trans fats. People were already demanding this and manufacturers were giving it to them. It's not hard to see restaurants doing the same.

    Posted on 3/14/08, 5:02 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    I think "Live Free or Eat Trans Fats & Die" is more like it. Get over it, and enjoy life without processed garbage.

    Posted on 3/15/08, 8:23 AM

  7. Dan Dan Said,

    Umm. Trans Fat isn't the enemy. Carbs aren't the enemy. Hell, Cis Fat isn't the enemy. Calories are what make you gain weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.

    The reason people tend to lose weight when they cut carbs (unless they're doing Atkins, which utilizes a different metabolic pathway) is that they tend to be watching what they're eating. As a result, they tend to eat less non-filling, carb rich, snack foods and, as a result, consume fewer calories.

    Yes trans-fats are worse for you. They increase risk for coronary heart disease, reduce high density lipoprotein (good fat), and a whole host of other bad things. But trans-fats are not causing obesity and obesity related problems in this country. Eating too much is.

    And that's why I have a huge problem with the government stepping in and saying what we can and can't do. Because government regulations involve quick fix solutions that don't actually address the problems.

    The reality is, this law just means restaurants will have to use more expensive cooking oils, and swap out their oil more often. So, what is the trans-fat-less Boston going to look like? Probably a lot like the pre-trans-fat-less Boston. But needless regulation means unnecessary regulatory bodies (after all, who's going to enforce the rule) and pointless increased costs on those making the food.

    And who pays? Tax payers and consumers. Meaning all of us.

    Posted on 3/15/08, 8:45 PM

  8. Anonymous Said,

    Trans-fat is a toxin. Our bodies do not need them, period. This ban is not aimed at reducing obesity. It is aimed at reducing toxic foods served in restaurants. There are plenty of trans-fat free oils that can be used when cooking, so why not do what's healthiest for the public? The law does not apply to packaged products sold in supermarkets, so you don't have to worry about your peanut butter.

    Posted on 3/17/08, 10:33 AM

  9. Dan Dan Said,

    Sorry Anonymous. I don't know what medical texts you've looked at, but no real scientist has ever described trans-fat as a toxin. Here's a typical definition of toxin: "A toxin (Greek: τοξικόν, toxikon, lit. (poison) for use on arrows) is a poisonous substance produced by living cells or organisms that is active at very low concentrations." Let me guess, non-organic foods are also toxins? Not eating vegetarian, toxic too?

    There's nothing toxic about trans-fat. Sure, they aren't as easy to break down and process, but your body can still do it just fine. And if you were to consume a diet high in trans-fat, along with healthy portions and plenty of exercise, you'd be fine.

    Next time you get stung by a jellyfish or tagged by a scorpion (real toxins) try exercising that away and you'll understand the difference.

    Look, no one can argue trans-fats are particularly good for you. Or that a double quarter pounder with cheese, trans-fat free, is good for you either. But no one can argue that trans-fats don't cost less and make food cheaper. And no one can argue that sending inspectors to test for trans-fats in restaurants won't cost taxpayers more.

    If we're just trying to do what's healthiest for the public, are we going to ban the double quarter pounder next? The fetticuni alfredo in the North End? The Cheesecake Factory's Oreo cheesecake (at over 1000 calories a slice, half the daily allotment for most people, that's certainly unhealthy, right)?

    In the end, this trans-fat ban is no big deal. Foods aren't going to cost noticeably more and those costs, divided among everyone aren't going to be obvious. It's just a symptom of a bigger problem with government regulating what we can and can't do to try to apply a band-aid to a much bigger problem. Each time the problem isn't solved, and we end up paying more for no reason.

    Posted on 3/17/08, 11:19 AM


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