Americans Think They Should Be Allowed to Buy Foods with Trans Fats and Caffeinated Energy Drinks


CNN reports that trans fat intake among American consumers has decreased from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to about 1 gram per day in 2012. Moreover, the Grocery Manufacturers Associations has stated "Since 2005, food manufacturers have voluntarily lowered the amounts of trans fats in their food products by over 73%." Despite voluntary action to reduce trans fat intake, the FDA still thinks government intervention is needed.

However, latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 71 percent of Americans think the government should allow people to buy foods with trans fats, if they so choose. Less than a quarter, 24 percent, believe the government should prohibit people from buying these types of foods.

Independents who lean Republican are the most likely to say trans fats should be allowed (82 percent) compared to 66 percent of Democrats. Nevertheless, majorities of all political groups favor allowing trans fats, also including 67 percent of non-partisan independents, 76 percent of regular Republicans and 68 percent of independents who lean Democratic.

Reason-Rupe finds public opinion is similar on the sale of caffeinated energy drinks. Seventy-six percent of Americans say the government should allow people to purchase so-called energy drinks that also contain caffeine, while 21 percent want government to prohibit people from buying them.

Additionally, the February 2013 Reason-Rupe poll found that 71 percent of Americans think the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces in theaters, restaurants, and other venues should be allowed. This survey also asked whether caffeinated energy drinks should be allowed, but prefaced the question with a statement about purported concerns over the drinks' safety. In this instance, 59 percent of respondents said that caffeinated energy drinks should be allowed, while 26 percent disagreed.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.