Fast Food Chains Have Significantly Decreased Trans Fats in Cooking Oils, Study Finds
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.
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 fast food
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 saturated fat levels in
french fries from five major fast food chains: McDonald's, Burger King,
Wendy's, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen.
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 at the National Nutrient Database Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
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."
the past decade, trans fats 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.
The study was funded by the National Institutes for Health.