High trans fat intake was associated with as many as seven percent of all deaths in the U.S. in recent years, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study correlated trans fat intake and mortality rates of 18,500 people (ages 45 and older) for seven years. The 40 percent of people who consumed the most trans fats—at least seven grams a day on a 2,000-calorie daily diet—had a 25 percent higher mortality rate from all causes than those who ate less of them.
Fortunately, not only has trans fat usage been dropping, thanks to steps taken by government and the food industry—we now have evidence that restricting their use results in healthier meals. An analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the effect of New York City’s ban on this heart-damaging fat in restaurants. The study compared thousands of purchases at hamburger, fried chicken and other fast-food chain restaurants before and after the ban. It found that trans fat content dropped by 2.4 grams per meal, on average.
Though there was a slight overall increase in saturated fat, it did not offset the benefits of the trans fat reduction. Besides New York City, at least 15 other local and state jurisdictions, including Philadelphia and California, have also enacted trans fat restrictions.