Road warriors of the future may be a lot healthier, thanks to hotels giving trans fats the boot.
In December 2006, Loews Hotels became the first hotel brand to ban the fats; over the next several months it will eliminate partially hydrogenated oils not only from restaurant kitchens, but also mini-bar items. Omni Hotels and Marriott International announced their own trans fat bans this month. And it’s not just hotels and restaurants jumping on the bandwagon; trans fats also have been banned at Universal’s U.S. theme parks and on Royal Caribbean International cruise ships.
In 2003, Kraft Foods eliminated trans fat from Oreos and removed or reduced quantities of the fat in nearly 650 other products after a lawsuit drew attention to the dangers of consuming partially hydrogenated oils. By the end of last year, fast-food chains such as McDonalds, Wendy’s and Starbucks made commitments to eliminate trans fats from their menus. The City of New York went a step further, issuing a citywide ban (giving restaurants until June 2008 to comply).
According to the FDA, the average American eats 4.7 pounds of trans fats a year. Small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats are present in foods such as cabbage, peas and cows’ milk, but the banned fats are a synthetic byproduct present in partially hydrogenated oils, developed to extend the shelf life of processed food. A study released by the Harvard School of Public Health in the 1990s blamed the consumption of synthetic trans fats for 100,000 premature coronary deaths annually and urged the FDA to require their presence be noted on Nutrition Facts labels (the requirement went into effect Jan. 1, 2006).
Additional sources: MSNBC, BanTransFat.com