Trans Fat

A greater number of food products in Ontario are starting to advertise, in larger and larger letters, that they contain zero Trans fat. The reason for this new trend (in Ontario) is a result of legislation brought to voice by Jack Layton that was passed about two years ago requiring all food labels to list the amount of trans fat on their packaging, and allowing products with less than 0.2 grams of trans fat (per serving) to be labelled free of trans fat. As a result of all this hoodelaley I'd guess it means that this type of fat isn't a good thing, as advertising the absence of something generally confirms that the something missing is something you in fact will not miss. So, we know that Trans fatty acids aren't good for us. There is a difference between something being 'not good for you', and something being 'very bad for you'; Trans fat falls under the latter category - it is very bad for you. It has absolutely no nutritive qualities. It is the tool the devil would weild were he able to fashion something frightening out of it (unfortunately for him/her it melts pretty quick, though not as quick as natural fat). Let's do the list of things consuming even a smidge of Trans fat can cause: Coronary Heart Disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, liver dysfunction, and infertility. A 2% increase in Trans Fat intake vs Carbohydrate intake (aka eating a burger on occasion vs. some pasta) will double your risk of heart disease. It takes a 15% increase in Saturated Fat vs. carbohydrate intake to cause the same damage, and replacing your carbs with unsaturated fats will decrease your risk. Retro-actively, if you replace 2% of your Trans fat intake with unsaturated fats, you halve your risk of heart disease. For all intents and purposes, Trans fat (which does occur naturally in cow and sheep milk at a level of 2-5% of total milk fat, but is found no where else on God's unmodified earth) is a very effective poison. It helps kill hundreds of thousands of people a year (30,000 Americans alone die every year exclusively from the abuse of Trans fat). This is a bad thing.

Now trans fat is found in its greatest concentration and quantity among the juicy burgers and fries that constitute our ramblin' Betty of a fast food industry. That is because it can be chemically produced, it's cheap, and it effectively reduces rancidity (much the same as does wrapping something in plastic, although we generally unwrap things wrapped in plastic before eating them). Eric Shlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation", gave us this comparison in a lecture given at Princeton University this past fall, "if it was a foreign government responsible for 30,000 deaths a year, and 200,000 heart attacks and casualties, we would bomb the hell out of them". For companies to tell us they are removing the Trans fats from their products and receiving praise for doing so is like a crook getting a pat on the back for refraining from stabbing his victim more than once or twice. Please don't clap your hands for the Golden Arches, ever.

This isn't to say, however, that McDonalds needs to change its ways. There's nothing wrong with selling dangerous food, so long as people know they're buying food that's not meant to be eaten. I don't think fast food needs to change one iota. I'm all for choice, and I think everyone, including those of us that find it really hard to satisfy our cravings, I think we might want to consider the consequences, and, should health overule taste and impulse, choose to keep from eating the stuff. People will sell you anything, and it's easy to buy whatever's cheap and available, and if you're able to refrain from complaining about absolutely every little tittle of vice and sin that occurs all across this land of the free, and how it's all a rip-off, then by all means - shut up and eat your burger. Otherwise, talk a little jive and have yourself a bowl of rice.