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Weighing In On Fat
September 30th, 2006

There has been much comment already on City Halls effort to curb the use of trans fat in New Yorks restaurants. (See Food Fight). An editorial in the New York Times points out that Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, asked city restaurants to voluntarily stop using artificial trans fatty acids a year ago. Many ignored him. So now he is following the lead of Chicago, and proposing to ban them outright (or, more precisely, require the citys more than 20,000 restaurants to phase out trans fats from their kitchens over 18 months. )

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg has frequently been accused of nanny tendencies in pursuing laws to control behavior, like the ban on smoking in public places. That runs contrary to the anything-goes traditions of the city,” the paper concedes, “but with epidemic rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, New Yorkers could use more pressure toward healthy behavior.”

But on the same day and in the same paper, Times columnist John Tierney disagrees, saying that the move “is the biggest step yet” in turning New York into the Big Nanny. “For all the rhetoric against trans fats, they’re not worse for you than the old-fashioned saturated fats in lard and butter and various cooking oils,” he writes. The ban on trans fats might push restaurants “to go back to using saturated fats. The food wouldn’t be any healthier, but it would sound more virtuous…So New Yorkers could well decide that it was safe to eat extra fries and doughnuts and cheesecake, which would just increase their risk of heart disease.”

By on September 30, 2006, 11:51 am
In category: Gotham City,Health | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Weighing In On Fat”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » How Many Calories In A Whopper With Cheese? Bloomberg Wants You To Know BEFORE You Eat It Says:
    October 31st, 2006 at 9:39 am

    [...] Fat is on the minds of most editorial writers today, largely because of the hearing before the Board of Health yesterday about the proposed ban on trans fat. The New York Times (which previously approved the trans fat ban, though with a dissent from Times columnist John Tierney) now approves of the New York City Health Departments proposal to have the calories listed alongside prices, and in the same type size…The change would affect about 10 percent of the citys restaurants, but could have a disproportionately positive impact in poorer neighborhoods, where fast food and diseases associated with obesity abound. These consumers should know that a Whopper with cheese has 760 calories, and that a Dunkin Donuts glazed doughnut has about half the calories of a powdered cake version 180 versus 330. [...]

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