POSTED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 12:14am
New York City raised a few eyebrows five years ago when it became the first to implement a trans fat ban in all food establishments.
Now there's a study out that finds health officials there placed a good order.
"After the restriction of trans fat in NYC, we looked at what the average amount of trans fat was in lunchtime purchases at fast food restaurants, and we found that trans fat went down," says Christine Curtis of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
In the new study New York City health officials calculated the nutrition content of nearly 7,000 receipts from orders placed after the ban was implemented.
They found diners ate significantly less trans fat, and there was only a slight increase in saturated fat.
"You can walk into your favorite restaurant, order the exact same lunch you've always ordered, and it just has much less trans fat, nothing else has changed," Curtis says.
That includes how food tastes and how much it costs to make.
What appears to have changed is a customer's risk for heart disease.
"We know that when trans fat intake goes down, bad cholesterol goes down cardiovascular disease risk goes down," Curtis adds.
Experts say consumers still need to make healthy decisions when dining out, like limiting saturated fat and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, but at least in New York City, patrons can order their food without a hidden dollop of trans fat, and for some that might just be the icing on the cake.
Since the New York City ban took effect other cities have followed suit, including Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle, as well as the entire state of California.