What We Don’t Know Might Hurt Us.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the New York State Health Department has urged that restaurants stop serving foods containing trans fats known as chemically modified ingredients that significantly increase the risk of heart disease.

Already, the mere request has trigged opposition. A friend told me that it’s none of the governments business what people eat and how often they eat it. Another says that if that were the case, then why not throw in some hashish every now and again. Toby Joe suggests that it’s not about that, it’s about disclosure to the consumers. Basically, if a smart person has this information, information that they were once in blissful denial about it, said person would avoid the food. It’s about knowledge and making a personal choice. If people want to continue eating it, then so be it, that’s their choice. If you’re like myself, who has avoided it for three months now (South Beach dieter) it’d be an excellent change. I’d love to have healthier lunch options.

I have been comparing it to cigarettes. There was a time that people didn’t KNOW that cigarettes caused cancer. Once that information was released to the public, some folks quit. (Take, Peter Jennings, for example). Up until recently, trans fats weren’t a known cause behind clogged arteries. Now, they are and the health department wants the consumer to know just when they’re ingesting the fats.

The NYT reports:

Public health officials contend that trans fat not only has the same heart-clogging properties as saturated fat, but also reduces the “good” cholesterol that works to clear arteries.

I’d say that’s a good enough reason to do something about it. But I know that these changes aren’t embraced easily. I’m wondering how other people feel about it. Is ignorance really all that blissful?


  1. I believe that obesity is perched to become the new smoking. We are still within the bounds of living memory from a time when smoking was not only a socially accepted behavior, but an encouraged and sophisticated trait. It is only since the fitness craze of the eighties that smoking has become stigmatized, and that smokers have been pushed out of the mainstream. Currently, an objector may approach a smoker on the street and say outright, “Don’t you know that smoking is bad for your health?” This objector would feel morally upright for doing so, and would not feel they’d done anything ‘mean’ or ‘insensitive’ by presuming the ignorance of the smoker.


    If a slender person makes a similar remark to an obese person who is eating pizza, the slender objector is still viewed as unsympathetic & rude. This is where we stand, but not for long.

    Obesity has reached epidemic proportions of the kind equalled by methamphetamine usage. If obesity is not attacked on a political level, it will most certainly come under fire culturally as the next few generations battle their demons in a public forum.

    As a side note, a friend of mine remarked to me just an hour ago that government regulation of cooking fats could pave the way for corporate marketing of organic fuels to power future automobiles. A bit ‘conspiracy theory’ perhaps, but not so far-fetched.

    Sorry for the long, long comment.


  2. As someone who still smokes (quitting soon I swear!) I would love the chance to be obnoxious and rude to someone else. I already have this over my pot smoking friends but I need more!!!!
    I think forbidding people to use these fats is crazy. Having to disclose the use is sane.


  3. g8s, don’t apologize. Your comment is very, very welcomed. Now, I will try and work up something equally as thought-provoking.


  4. I’ll tell fatties they’re fat all day. Then I’ll steal the pizza from their grubby paws and slurp it down and wallow around in my almost-fat glory!

    I don’t think regulation is going to happen. Well, not material regulation anyway. Disclosure is something that should be done with all potentially harmful consumer goods. Tobacco and alcohol and nuts are all labelled. Processed food is labelled. There is no reason not to require menus to disclose problematic substances. In a world of businesses telling consumers to be responsible and make their own choices, the businesses should disclose details in order to make that possible.

    I bet health and corporate insurance companies would be a big backer of this.


  5. Trans fats make the baby jesus cry.


  6. …which is why the first thing he does each morning is turn tap water into melony sauvignon blancs.


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