Illinois Moves Forward on Trans Fats Ban

A new bill could change the taste of food in restaurants and bakeries

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A bill that passed the Illinois House on Wednesday may have restaurants cutting the fat from menus. 

    The legislation would ban unhealthy trans fats in restaurants, bakeries, movie theaters, cafes and school vending machines, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois would become the second state after California to ban trans fats. Known as House Bill 1600, the ban would go into effect starting in 2013 then move to school cafeteria's in 2016. Most prepackaged food would not be covered.     

    Trans fats are widely used for their ability to add flavor, texture and shelf life to foods. They are used for frying or are found listed as "trans fatty acids" or "partially hydrogenated vegetable oils" in food. 

    Scientists discovered in the early 1990's the link between trans fats and elevated levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) leading to the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Trans fats clog arteries and lower the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

    There is no safe amount of trans fats that can be consumed, The National Academy of Sciences says.   

    Fast food chains across the nation have eliminated or are phasing out trans fats from their food.  However, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Long John Silver's, White Castle and Bob Evans have held out on removing trans fats from their menus.

    The bill would include manufactured trans fats, not the rare, naturally occurring variety.