The people and the New York press called New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg “Nanny Bloomberg” when he aggressively sought to limit the size of sugar laden soft drinks and then restaurants use of trans fats.
He prevailed with legislation in New York City, and several New York counties followed his lead. That was 2007 and the Food and Drug Administration followed just two years ago in 2015.
The jury is in,or at least the first study, now published in the New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Dr. Eric Brandt, a Yale University Cardiology Fellow. The news is good. The admission for heart attacks and strokes declined 6% beginning three years after the ban went into effect. This translates to 43 fewer heart attacks per 100,000 population. Other counties enjoyed similar progress with heart attacks and strokes declining from 800 to 700 per 100,000 people.
Trans fats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, enhance food texture and structure. They were once commonly used to make restaurant fried chicken, French fries, doughnuts and other foods and found in grocery items including cookies, crackers and margarine.
These fats can boost blood levels of unhealthy cholesterol, increasing risks for heart problems. The FDA in 2006 required them to be listed on food labels and the food industry has been switching to healthier oils.
“Policies such as these, when adapted on a nationwide level, will be good for our entire population,” said Dr. Mark Creager, former American Heart Association President and director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s heart center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.