Study finds fast food chains have significantly decreased trans fats in cooking oils

Jul 14, 2010

Five major fast food chains have significantly decreased trans fats in the oils they use to cook food, according to new research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The latest research findings suggest that major fast food chains may have been responsive to health concerns from the public and that potential future marketplace shifts to watch for in response to current nutrition concerns include changes to sodium and energy content of items.

By using the School of Public Health's Nutrition Coordinating Center's proprietary database — which catalogs the nutritional values of more than 18,000 foods — researchers looked at trans fat and levels in from five major fast food chains: McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen.

The researchers found that three of the restaurants — McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's — significantly decreased the trans and saturated fatty acid composition of French fries between 1997 and 2008. For these three restaurants, saturated fats either went down or stayed level. While the remaining two restaurants didn't show a decrease in trans fats during the time period studied, current nutritional information illustrates that the chains have decreased both trans and saturated fatty acid composition since 2008.

The findings were presented this week at the National Nutrient Database Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

"While it took time for major fast food chains to decrease trans fats in their foods, I'm pleased to see that they have done it. I'm also pleased to see that they haven't raised levels of saturated fats to replace trans fats," said Lisa Harnack, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and director of the Nutrition Coordinating Center. "This is good news, as the average American gets about 10 percent of calories from fast food. But moderation is still key when considering fast food. Calories and sodium are high and portion sizes are often too large."

Throughout the past decade, began receiving a great deal of negative attention after research demonstrated that they can elevate the risk of heart disease by increasing "bad" LDL cholesterol and decreasing "good" HDL cholesterol levels. Health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. In 2006, Congress passed a law requiring that trans fat content be listed on food labels.

Explore further: Study recommends inmate immunity test

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NYC french fries fail trans fats testing

Aug 02, 2007

The U.S. Center for Science in the Public Interest says both Burger King and Wendy's New York City french fries contain unsafe levels of trans fats.

Banning trans fats would save lives, say doctors

Apr 15, 2010

Banning trans fats from all foods in the UK would prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths every year, and would be a simple way to protect the public and save lives, say two senior doctors in the British Medical Journal ...

KFC sued for trans fat menu

Jun 14, 2006

A retired Maryland physician is suing KFC over claims the oil the restaurant-chain fries its chicken and other menu items in is high in trans fat.

Trans fat ban: Watch saturated fats and calories too

Dec 22, 2006

In December, New York City passed a law to phase out the use of trans fat in restaurants. Other cities, including Boston and Chicago, might follow suit. According to Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Gershoff professor of nutrition ...

Trans-fatty acids and insulin sensitivity

Jul 08, 2008

Trans-fatty acids have been the topic of a lot of negative health news, but in the July Journal of Lipid research, a dietary study in rats suggests that trans-fats do not increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabet ...

Recommended for you

Study recommends inmate immunity test

18 hours ago

(AP)—Federal experts are recommending that California test inmates for immunity to a sometimes fatal soil-borne fungus before incarcerating them at two Central Valley state prisons where the disease has killed nearly three ...

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

Jul 25, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly ...

Time out for exercise

Jul 25, 2014

University of Queensland researcher has found that restructuring our daily routine to include exercise can have unexpected effects on health.

User comments : 0