New York City pushing more progressive government with trans fat ban
Have you heard the news about what New York City public health officials have proposed to do in that city? After their recent ban on all smoking in restaurants and bars in the Big Apple, now they want a zero tolerance policy for any restaurant cooking food in the most evil fat to ever be exposed to mankind: trans fats!
This USA Today column gives all the sordid details. The proposal states that a new regulation needs to be implemented to REQUIRE all restaurants to eliminate trans fats from their cooking procedures by April 2007. This ban on trans fats would apply to ANY business that sells food to the public in New York City. The fines that restaurants could face for not complying with this new regulation will range from $200-$2,000 per violation.
There was a second proposal on the table to also REQUIRE the restaurant chains to list the calories of their menu items in a conspicous place for consumers to know what they are eating before they purchase it. This would impact companies like Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and McDonald's, among many others. This requirement will only apply to those restaurants that already have their nutritional information provided on the Internet or in brochures by March 1, 2007.
Not surprisingly, the restaurant industry which boasts sales of a staggering $511 BILLION annually from nearly a BILLION restaurants in the United States alone, is crying foul to these proposals. They say that consumers are intelligent enough to know what the nutritional content of what they are eating before they order it and don't need such draconian measures by the government to tell them how and what to eat.
Well, that's right and it's wrong. Let me explain.
The idea of forcing a business to stop using trans fats in their products assumes that the people who are eating them don't realize what they are shoving in their mouth when they eat fast food. But this poll of Canadians released last year showed that they are more aware of trans fats now and are paying attention to that particular ingredient now more than ever before. The same probably holds true in America as well. So, the awareness of the dangers of trans fats is already there.
What a lot of people may not know about is the little trick the FDA allows companies regarding the nutritional labeling. While a food product may be deemed "trans fat-free," that does not mean there is ZERO trans fats in them! GASP! How can this be? Well with rounding that is permitted those "trans fat-free" Oreo cookies you eat may have as much as 0.49 grams per 2 cookie serving. If you eat 12 of them, then you just consumed 2.94 grams of tran fats, higher than the MAXIMUM 2 grams recommended by the American Heart Assocation. Something to think about.
At the same time, how can we trust companies like McDonald's who got into trouble earlier this year for miscalculating the amount of trans fats in their French fries? If they SAY they drop their trans fats completely, does that really mean their food will be trans fat-free? Don't bet on it. Let's forget about KFC and all the trans fats that are hidden in their food, too. Trans fats are most definitely unhealthy for you and have been scientifically proven to make people one-third fatter as well. Yikes!
So is a total ban on trans fats--A GENUINE ONE--the answer to this problem? With kids eating more fried junk food than ever before, does Big Brother government need to come in and compel behavioral change to slow down skyrocketing obesity rates?
My answer may surprise a lot of people, but I say no.
What?! But I thought you were all for helping to improve the health and weight of people? I am, but not when it is forced on businesses and people with a government mandate. Government and health leaders are proposing throwing more money at the obesity problem, but more money isn't the answer. They also want restaurants to cut their portion sizes and calories, but those things aren't the answer either.
And neither is banning trans fats in New York City restaurants. That DOESN'T fix the underlying problem that people have in this country as it relates to the foods they eat and how that impacts their weight and health. People who are obese need to be gently confronted about their weight by those friends and family members who love them the most to encourage them to start making better food choices. Educating people about making those decisions that are best for them is what is going to bring about the most change.
As much power over people as they think they have, the government cannot lose weight for you and nor should they. Obesity will not go away on its own, so the people who struggle with shedding the pounds need to find a dietary plan they can stick with and then DO IT!
It's amazing, but people are always saying to me now, "That's easy for you to say, you don't have a weight problem." That's right, I don't--ANYMORE! But it was just a little more than couple of years ago I was walking around this world as 400+ pound man looking for answers to my morbid obesity problem, too. I found the low-carb lifestyle and it changed my life forever. If you resolve today that nothing will stand in the way of your weight loss success, then IT CAN and IT WILL happen for you like it did for me. Find a plan that will work for you, implement that plan into your life, and then keep doing it forever. That is what it takes to find weight loss success.
Best of all, you won't need the government forcing it on you either!