Despite the outrageous new statin recommendations making headlines this month, there are still plenty of recent developments to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. In fact, I’m gleefully reveling in the next bit of news I’m about to share.
Maybe you’ve already heard it. If so, I think you’ll agree that it was a long time in coming. But if not, allow me to do the honors…
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally announced that it will begin the process of removing artificial trans fats from processed foods in this country. It’s a measure that they predict will prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and heart disease deaths every year.
But you know what? I’m not prepared to let them take full credit for the lives this move will save.
The case against trans fats has been growing for decades. According to the Institute of Medicine, “there is no safe level of consumption” of these fats. And they “provide no known health benefit.”
Well, that’s an understatement if there ever was one. Because here’s what we do know: Trans fats clog arteries and raise your risk of heart disease.
Yet, hundreds of thousands of products Americans consume on a daily basis feature these killer fats. Foods sitting on our store shelves right now. Foods we feed our kids each and every day. All because the FDA chose to ignore the science for at least a generation.
And unfortunately, even their ban is “one step forward, two steps back.”
The FDA’s first step in this process will be to revoke trans fats’ status as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). But over the next couple of months, they’ll be looking for input on the length of time food manufacturers will need in order to comply with this ban.
Trans fats are killing us. But hey, let’s ask the people who are responsible for this mass murder how long they need to put a convenient end to it. (My guess: It will be just enough time for them to come up with something new to kill us, which will then take decades to expose.)
Is it so wrong to want to walk into the supermarket and not see shelves full of microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, margarines, and non-dairy coffee creamers? (And those are just a few items that typically contain both hidden and not-so-hidden trans fats.)
The industry has known for five years this day was coming. That’s half a decade. So why on Earth do they need more time to fix this mess?
Policies like the Affordable Care Act need more time. But the removal of all foods that contain trans fats from our supermarket shelves? This does not need more time. In fact, it really can’t happen fast enough.
And not just because we know for a fact that trans fats kill. Removing them will effectively bring down rates of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions. And that means we can finally start to focus on the other culprits behind our country’s failing health: wheat and sugar.
But not before the powers-that-be pat themselves on the back for finally taking some action.
You have to love how the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology–the same institutions behind the new statin guidelines–are heaping praise on this decision. When a decade ago, they too had their heads buried somewhere deep in the sand.
They even issued a statement that there was no scientific evidence to support the banning of trans fats. And to this day, they still support the use of margarine.
The hypocrisy, the lies… I just don’t know when it will end. But I am still thankful for this small trans-fat victory, however overdue it may be.
FDA Sets Stage to Ban Trans Fats in Processed Foods. Medscape. Nov 07, 2013.