Argument: Banning trans fats means saving thousands of lives

Issue Report: Trans fat ban


“Ban trans fats and thousands of lives will be saved, UK told.” Independent. April 16th, 2010: “Even a 1 per cent fall in use of the fats, as a proportion of total daily calories, would prevent an estimated 11,000 heart attacks and save 7,000 lives a year in England alone. Consumption of trans fats in developed nations ranges from 2-4 per cent of total calorie intake, they say. […] In New York, voluntary efforts to reduce their use failed, but when they were banned in 2007 the proportion of New York restaurants using trans fats fell from 50 per cent to less than 2 per cent. (Some trans fats occur naturally so they cannot be totally eliminated.) Fears that trans fats would be replaced with saturated animal fat, which is also bad for health, have proved unfounded. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dariush Mozaffarian, assistant professor of medicine, and Meir Stampfer, professor of epidemiology at Harvard, say removing industrial trans fats is ‘one of the most straightforward public health strategies for rapid improvements in health.’ A ban would save lives, be easy to implement yet have no impact on the price, sales, taste or availability of the affected foods, they say.”

According to US researchers, trans fats are to blame for anywhere between 70,000 to 288,000 heart attacks (fatal and nonfatal) in Americans each year. It is one of the reasons why the FDA requires all food manufacturers to list the trans-fat content of their products on food labels directly under the amount of saturated fat.[1]