Trans Fats

Don't Ban Trans Fats

It's a bad idea.


Any day now, the FDA is expected to issue a rule that will effectively ban the use of manmade, trans-fat-containing partially hydrogenated oils in all foods.

Most experts agree trans fats aren't good for you. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends eating no more than 2 grams per day.

There's some question about the difference between the manmade variety—those trans fats in partially hydrogenated oils—and those trans fats that occur naturally in beef and dairy.

As I wrote in a 2013 column in response to the proposed FDA trans fat ban, a recent meta-analysis found "the impact of artificial and natural trans fats on HDL and LDL levels to be roughly equivalent." A recent Harvard Medical School publication notes another study found "no difference in how the two different types of trans fat affected men." Men make up a significant portion of our population.

In any case, the FDA claims the ban could save around 7,000 lives per year. The agency has required food manufacturers to list the trans fat content of packaged foods since 2006. That's helped reduce the amount of trans fats in the average American's diet from far above to well below the American Heart Association recommendations.

So if Americans are already eating less trans fats than health experts recommend, why the push to ban them?

The ban comes thanks to a 2013 lawsuit filed by centenarian Dr. Fred Kummerow, a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois who's been researching trans fats for more than 50 years. His lawsuit forced the FDA to act. The agency will do so by revoking the so-called GRAS status of partially hydrogenated oils. Without that status, anyone wishing to sell foods containing partially hydrogenated oils would have to petition the FDA to demonstrate their safety.

Interestingly, the lawsuit and court order follow virtually the same arc that saw the FDA ban raw milk—an action the agency rejected until a federal court forced its hand in the late 1980s.

The FDA's longstanding raw milk ban isn't the only good analogy to the trans fat ban. The trans fat ban is informative in light of another recent dramatic change government dietary advice, namely the U.S. government's complete reversal of course on dietary cholesterol.

And then there's salt, which the federal government has increasingly pushed Americans to cut from their diets. Those recommendations are now on the ropes. And according to a story this week by the Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey, scientists recently argued at a New York City scientific conference that "the persistent global appetite for salt might be a sign that humans are geared for more salt than health authorities would allow."

In addition to trans fats, salt, and cholestorol, I've warned before that ingredients like caffeine are also needlessly in the FDA's crosshairs.

If the federal government's dietary advice and actions are often wrong, there's also a lesson in the trans fat ban for farmers and food producers who use GMO crops—and not just because many partially hydrogenated oils are made from GMO crops. The lesson is that those who claim consumers need more information about food X—evident in arguments advocating mandatory trans fat labeling and in the familiar cry around GMOs that consumers have a right to know what's in their food—can easily morph into cries to ban food X.

It's unclear how—or even if—the trans fat ban will proceed. For example, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food makers, says it's planning to file a petition to delay implementation of the rule.

A delay here seems eminently reasonable. Putting the brakes on an increasingly activist and adventurous FDA serves the interests of consumers and food producers alike.

NEXT: Phoenix Mosque Protest Kinda What America is All About

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  1. Make FDA compliance voluntary. Slap a seal of approval on your blessed product so those consumers wary of transfats or whatever the fuck can look for the union label and the rest of us can enjoy living on the edge.

    1. A government agency giving up power?

      You are one crazy dreamer, but I like your style! See you in the camps!

      1. It’s not a matter of the agency, but the legislature. Congress would have to amend the FFDCA to make compliance voluntary.

        FDA has several times eschewed authority over certain things when outsiders have pressured or petitioned the agency to assert it. Most of the people in the agency aren’t interested in power per se. Sometimes somebody gets appointed at the top who is.

    2. Christ man – you know that will never work.

      Think about it – if it weren’t for the government Kosher Inspection Agency then Jews wouldn’t be able to guarantee that their food meets religious dietary laws. And if you can’t do that for voluntary religious laws then how are you going to do it for stuff that *kills* people?

    3. This. If a person is convinced X is bad for them why don’t they not buy X and at most try to convince others to do the same. Why ban it?

      Of course, these public health types are the same people who push for SWAT raids on raw milk (gasp!) sellers, so so much for that I guess.

      1. Control freaks gotta control. It’s like crack to them. Logic, reason, even morals will never persuade them.

      2. It’s in part because people are taught that market forces don’t work but government force will.

        The other part is that to affect market forces people would have to do something to make it happen. In the “someone should do something model” all people have to do it no oppose the “will of the people” and the top men will take care of the rest.

  2. Whoever takes my frozen pizza bagels deserves a long, painful death.

    1. Those pizza bagels are going to give you a long, painful death on the john.

      1. Fortune favors the bold..

        1. I thought fortune favored the italic.

          1. guess that fortune ship sailed for Mussolini!

            1. Caesar: Et tu, praetor Pompey?

              1. Ate you, transfats?

            2. Mussolini made the trans run on time

              1. Mussolini was very hetero-normative.

  3. This effective ban on incorporating the icky type of trans-fats into “industrial” food, chaps my ass to similar degree as the national fad of State legislatures’ bans on indoor smoking in bars. Really this is a simple death blow for a food production technique that is already less popular due to the bad press and labelling requirements.

    It isn’t clear to me if, after the ban takes effect, individual consumers or boutique restaurants will still be able to source this “evil” version for small scale use somehow, like through packaging that says “not intended for consumption.”

    Extremely irritating.

    1. Indoor smoking bans? That’s so old school. They’re pushing for vaping bans now.

      1. They We‘re pushing for vaping bans now.

        Admit it, Bo.

    2. Consumers would still be allowed to make their own. Businesses would still be allowed to sell it in intrastate commerce, except for one detail: Similar state laws typically make it illegal to sell in intrastate commerce what isn’t allowed in interstate commerce under the FFDCA. I don’t know about every state, but check your state’s law on foods & food additives; it probably says that the state Health Dept. can specifically allow a food additive (default is to illegality) if they have reason to do so, but since they’d be going by the same reasons as FDA, it’s doubtful they would.

      Remember that fully hydrogenated fat would still be allowed. Only partially hydrogenated oils are affected by such a rule.

  4. The solution to the problem is simple. Cut the staff at the FDA by 50%. Idle hands are the devil’s tool.

    1. The way they’ve been behaving for the last few decades, 50% of current budget is 50 percentage points too much.

    2. I don’t think you understand the situation. If they cut their staff to a single person, edicts would come at a much greater rate.

  5. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ??????

    1. Shut up Tulpa!

      1. i lol’d.

  6. Not to sound macabre or heartless but they will ban something with dubious evidence to save a mere 7 000 people?

    Scary when you think of it because they can literally demonize anything on any grounds so long as it saves ONE person.

    1. Yes, reading that I want to ask, “Since a large number of people have died in recent years from eating organic produce (lots of e coli and listeria contamination is traced to organic produce), are you planning to ban THAT? Or are your bans purely PC drivel?”

    2. How many things are known to kill more than 7000 people per year that aren’t being considered for bans?

      I know my beloved automobiles are under fire from the idea of safe self driving cars which would clearly still offer the same freedom and not offer the government the ability to assume control. Or maybe not.

  7. McDonald’s, et al., should be frying their frenched potatoes in tallow again.

    1. Spent motor oil has no trans fats..

      1. Neither does Soylent Green

      2. Spent motor oil is a good lawn fertilizer.

        1. And dogs really like their treats soaked in antifreeze.

  8. “why the push to ban them?”

    Because they can. They are far to busy making it retardedly expensive for individuals to introduce a drug to market because of all the bullshit regulations written in favor of special interests.

    They want to ban trans fats to save 7,000, yet killed far more by trying to tell folks what they can’t try, and banning medicine that could have helped save someone or at least made their process of death less painful. Fuck the FDA!!!!

    1. No, it’s because outsiders will make them. The fault is not w FDA, it’s with Congress. Or more generally, it’s w people.

    2. “Because they can. ”


      That’s always the reason. The sweet taste of domination by those with the guns.

  9. 5 year old boy beheaded by religious nut…

    Spoiler alert: not Muslims!

    1. The alleged perp was lynched.

      Wow, Indiana Jones is getting really hard-core!

      1. +1 monkey brains

    2. Man bites dog story?

    3. And then, there’s this guy..

      1. “IS has carried out a wave of abuses in areas it controls in both Syria and Iraq, including public beheadings, mass executions, enslavement and rape.”

        I think “abuses” is a tad euphemistic in this case.

        1. The nuisances of journalistic restraint, they didn’t want to rush to judgment when reporting a story on a group that scares the shit out of them.. They chose a detached, dispassionate approach to broaching the subject of *alleged* ISIS atrocities. Salute their courage for even mentioning it at all…

        2. Well, “has been behaving with the calm restraint associated with a band of SS fanatics high on meth” would be so non-PC.

    4. Wait — a defenseless individual is killed on the altar of a god (sic) of power?

      So, I am assuming this is a problem because Kali and Government are in the same game and somebody elses favorite got the blood?

    5. Wait — a defenseless individual is killed on the altar of a god (sic) of power?

      So, I am assuming this is a problem because Kali and Government are in the same game and somebody elses favorite got the blood?

  10. I wish people were smarter

    1. And better looking.

      1. And richer..

        1. And sexually adventurous.

          1. And more altruistic.

            1. And more flexible.

              1. And less screamy

                1. And more dreamy

                  1. I’d settle for minding their own business.

            2. Lucky for you the government is here to help make all those dreams come true.

  11. Trans fats should get to choose which restroom they want to use.

    1. Cis fats would never allow such a challenge to their hegemony..


  12. Putting the brakes on Disbanding an increasingly activist and adventurous FDA serves the interests of consumers and food producers alike.


    1. I like your post but your beans suck!!! That’s right, I said it. And your talking dog is an asshole too!!…….Yeah, that’s right! I went there!!

      1. Awfully rich of a vampire to talk about things sucking, doncha think?

        1. I just spit coffee out. Brilliant!

  13. We know the EPA funds groups that in turn sue to get the EPA to do stuff the EPS wants to do but doesn’t want to pay the political price for. Has anyone checked to see if the FDA has taken up the habit as well?

  14. With regard to trans fats in animals:…..-1886.html

    With regard to dairy products:…..isk-303208

    Note that trans fat content is negligible and the high saturated fat content is beneficial. Low fat dairy products can be harmful.

  15. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ?????

  16. The FDA’s policies are designed for mass produced standardized products, thus they have no sane policy for stem cells or other biologics because human beings are not standardized. They are individualized and their immmune systems as well as their metabolisms are different too. Thus the FDA issues policies suitable for a world in which all human beings are identical . Those policies are both harmful and dangerous for the world in which we actually live, where we are each of is a unique individual. I recommend moving the FDA offices to Prudhoe Bay Alaska where mandatory winter marathons for all FDA employees would be held until the agency vanishes.

    1. It’s not their fault. This is the way Congress wrote the FFDCA, so FDA’s hands are tied. Congress did not anticipate individualized products. You think the people in FDA don’t know & complain about this state of affairs?

  17. “So if Americans are already eating less trans fats than health experts recommend, why the push to ban them?”

    Haters hate. Regulators regulate. It’s what they do. It’s what they live for. Power. Over. You.

    1. The problem is, you think Congress is going to write an exemption in the laws for something people are trying to avoid because it’s thought dangerous? The only way they’ll do that is if there’s some class of persons who have no reasonable alternative to trans fats for their health, like they did with saccharine.

  18. I hate fake fats like Cool Whip, Crisco, and margarine. They are disgusting to me.

    1. jhkjhk, what do you think of real fats like Michael Moore?

  19. A ban sounds reasonable to the nanny-staters, provided one assumes that this time they’ve got the science right — and never mind all the previous times they screwed up.

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  21. Ban woodchippers!

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