Experts: NYC Trans Fat Ban a Healthy Move

ByABC News
December 5, 2006, 12:44 PM

Dec. 5, 2006 — -- Following the New York City Board of Health's unanimous decision to phase trans fats off the city's restaurant menus, experts say the move could be an important step in saving many people from heart disease.

Restaurateurs and others, however, say the decision could have a devastating impact on New York's restaurant industry, and it might not even make restaurant food that much healthier.

The measure, first proposed on Sept. 26, will take effect July 1. By this date, restaurants will be barred from using most frying oils that contain artificial trans fats. And by July 1, 2008, they will have to eliminate artificial trans fats from all their foods.

Experts believe trans fats cause harm because they raise "bad" LDL cholesterol and lower "good" HDL cholesterol. This combination has been found to contribute to heart disease -- perhaps even more so than saturated fats.

"This is one of the most important actions taken by a city or state health department in many years," says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., adding that the measure should be adopted by other cities and states.

"The trans-fat ban will save thousands of lives over the next decade."

"This is one of the most important pieces of health legislation this decade," says Lori Mosca, associate professor of medicine at Columbia University. "It has the potential to affect millions of people to reduce their exposure to an unnecessary substance that is known to increase the risk of heart disease."

"New York City has taken a major step forward to protect the health of everyone who lives or visits there," says Dr. Walter Willett, professor and chairman of the Harvard School of Public Health. "Hopefully, the rest of the nation will follow."

"This is a good idea," says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Trans fat is not a necessity, and there are suitable substitutes."