AirTalk for November 7, 2013

FDA to ban heart-clogging trans fats in processed foods

New Food Label Requirements Listing Trans Fat and Allergens Take Effect

Scott Olson/Getty Images

What will happen to your favorite foods?

While food industry biggies like McDonald's, Walmart and others have tapered off use of trans fats, today the Food and Drug Administration said all food manufacturers gradually ought to eliminate the ingredient. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said an all-out ban could prevent 7,000 deaths a year and 20,000 heart attacks.

Trans fat - a more solidified fat created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil - is used in cookies, pizza, biscuits and other processed foods. The decline of its use has been dramatic - intake by Americans declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to around one gram in 2012, according to the FDA. The agency is holding a 60-day comment period to gauge how soon companies could phase out trans fats.

Will there be resistance from some manufacturers? What ingredients would replace the fat? Will consumers notice the difference?

Are you a fan of microwave popcorn? Biscuits? Apple pie? Click here to see the Trans Fat Wall of Shame from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Guests:

Fred Kummerow, emeritus professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois and author of “Cholesterol Won’t Kill You, But Trans Fats Could.”

John Cawley, Professor at Cornell University - studying the economics of risky health behaviors, with a focus on obesity; Co-Director of Cornell's Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities

Ruth Frechman, registered dietician and nutritionist. Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


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