Trans Fat Totalitarians?

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By Courtney Cochran

Last July California made headlines when it became the first state to ban - by 2010, that is - the use of artery-clogging trans fats in restaurants.  Hailed by nutrition advocates as a dramatic and positive step towards the betterment of public health, the Schwarzenegger-backed legislation has stirred up vehement opposition from some state residents who call the ban an infringement on their basic civil liberties.
Give Me Trans Fats or Give Me Death!
Trans fats - made up of a solidified combination of hydrogen and vegetable oil that preserves flavor and increases the shelf life of foods - have earned no shortage of critics for their contributions to obesity, strokes and heart disease.  Even so, as recent outbursts prove, these extra-fatty fats have their fans - including supporters whose reasons for upholding the fats range from the political (one dissident compared the ban to rulings against abortion) to the palate-driven (another complained that donuts made without trans fats are limp and lacking in texture).  In spite of these vocal opponents, however, trans fats will indeed become a thing of the past in the Golden State soon, with restaurants tasked with switching to oils, margarines and shortening containing less than half a gram of trans fat per serving by Jan. 1, 2010.  

My two cents?  I say ban 'em - and ban 'em fast.  We shouldn't put these icky things in our own bodies, and we shouldn't let our kids near them, either. 

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