Ban on Trans Fat Aims to Help Americans Become Healthier

The Food and Drug Administration has been taking steps to remove trans fat from restaurants and grocery stores for the last decade. On Thursday, the federal agency banned the heart-clogging trans fat nationwide.

From restaurant kitchens to grocery aisles, trans fat is found in many of America's favorite foods.

"Pizzas, fast foods, candies, all your pastries and even baked goods," said Clinical Dietitian Andrea Grassi.

Hydrogenated oils are the main source of trans fats. It is typically formed when food is dried or processed, and helps prolong its shelf life. The FDA has previously estimated that Americans eat an average of 4.7 pounds of trans fat each year.

"Most foods that trans fats are in, they're higher in calories, higher in sodium and the fat content is obviously higher which can increase your weight," said Grassi.

Grassi states trans fat has no health benefits. Consuming too much of it can lead to a long list of health problems.

"It increases your bad cholesterol which is known as the LDL, and it decreases your good cholesterol the HDL. So this can cause heart attacks, clog your arteries and even cause type two diabetes," said Grassi.

Many Texomans agree that the FDA's action is an important step towards Americans eating healthier.

"I'm kind of glad actually. I like the thought that our kids growing up from now on have healthier choices," said one Texoman.

"That's good. Really glad to eat healthy because there's so many people being sick and stuff," said another.

As a result of the ban, the food industry will be required to gradually phase out all trans fats. The FDA is not yet setting a deadline for the phase out, but it will collect data for two months before officials determine how long the process will take.

Grassi recommends making healthy choices at the grocery store.

"It's all about the choice you make when you're at the grocery store. Shop on the outside aisles, choose more fresh produce and fresher meats. Try to stay away from frozen sections and the packaged sections," she said.

FDA officials have been working on trans fat issues for almost 15 years. The agency is estimating that by removing trans fat, it could potentially prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.