California Bans Trans Fat

This weekend, I worked a Sunday shift. I woke up after late night of proving
I was still young (ok, so I didn’t drink and shrewdly eyed the
concert’s audience to see what “the people who go out on Saturdays”
were wearing, but I was OUT), and wrote a story about how California
has decided to ban restaurants from using trans fat.

Several hours later, we were leaving The Dark Knight when my
incredibly metabolically blessed boyfriend pulled out an entire bag of
Tostido’s Hint of Lime tortilla chips. By entire bag, I mean the kind
people buy when they’re having guests over. I also mean that it was
almost empty.

Now, this is something that skinny people can do, especially skinny
boys. They eat huge quantities of chips, because the chips are
hard-wired to make you eat them compulsively, and boys have not be
re-wired to believe that all the chips exceeding “just a few” will go
straight to their butts. But, I grabbed the bag out of his hands.

“Oh my god. Oh my god. Do you these have trans fats? We have to make
sure they say trans fat free.” They did. Crisis averted. Except he
asked, “what’s a trans fat?”

“Um….it’s a kind of fat. And it’s really bad for you. The manufacturers add hydrogen to fat. So, that makes it worse.” I’d also learned that trans fats were linked to raised cholesterol, and health problems. But mostly I was focused on the fact that trans fats were “bad”, primarily
because Gov. Arnold loves health, and Gov. Arnold hates trans fat. I
also knew, thanks to the mandated label, that his food didn’t have
any. I could move on and worry about other things.

But later, in a conversation with Mark, it occurred to me that I, and probably many other Americans, were being bought off with the “zero trans fat” label. Rather than teach people how to eat correctly (which sadly does not mean trading dinner for 10 servings of trans fat free tortilla chips) the government is making a hoopla over banning just one “bad” ingredient in fast food. It’s a weird blend of laissez-fairism and paternalism: We can’t stop people from eating huge quantities of fast-food. But we can control the ingredients independent companies use and call it healthy!

Are these policies inadvertanly skewing information and keeping the public ignorant?

This post is entirely trans fat free.


One thought on “California Bans Trans Fat

  1. What a smart blog post. It even has the word “laissez-fairism.” You must be some sort of super John Smith-food professor hybrid, like those freak animals found off the coast of Montauk.


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