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In New York City, Trans Fat Ban Is Working
Date:7/20/2009

ats, Silver and her colleagues wrote in their report, is that increasing intake by just 2 percent can increase the risk for a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem by as much as 23 percent. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels.

Restaurants' fears that diners would protest or the ban would affect business didn't happen, Silver said, and the good news for restaurant patrons is that they don't have to guess about what they're eating as much as they once did.

Silver said the idea seems to be catching on, too. At least 13 jurisdictions, including California, have adopted similar laws since New York's took effect, she said.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted in an editorial accompanying the report that Tiburon, a small community north of San Francisco, actually restricted trans fats in its 18 restaurants as early as 2003.

"The scientific rationale for eliminating exposure to artificial trans fatty acids in foods is rock solid," she wrote. Not only do they not have health benefits, but they are harmful, she said.

Though some experts have called for federal intervention to restrict trans fats, Gerberding said that idea "seems premature," but she doesn't rule it out for the future. Among other actions, she said, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could enhance educational efforts to inform consumers about the risk.

Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and a past president of the American Dietetic Association, said that banning fats is not enough.

"While mandatory elimination of trans fats can help reduce intake, consumer understanding about healthy food choices is essential," Diekman said. Healthful eating is a joint responsibility, she said, shared by food processors, providers, health-care professionals and consumers.

Silver took it a
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