HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Time to Give Up Those Yummy McDonald Fries

Erza Klein reports on a new study found in the New England Journal of Medicine (unfortunately not available for free) that reminds us again how unhealthy fast food, which contains many grams of trans fat, is for us.  It turns out that not only is fast food food unhealthy, but it is particularly unhealthy here in the United States because it contains even more of those unhealthy trans fats.  According to the study, as reported by the Associated Press's Linda Johnson

Order french fries or hot wings at a McDonald's or a KFC in the United States and you're more likely to get a super-sized helping of artery-clogging trans fats than you would be at their restaurants in some other countries.

A study of the fast-food chains' products around the world found remarkably wide variations in trans fat content from country to country, from city to city within the same nation, and from restaurant to restaurant in the same city.

The researchers said the differences had to do with the type of frying oil used, and the main culprit appeared to be partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is high in trans fats.

“I was very surprised to see a difference in trans fatty acids in these uniform products,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Steen Stender, a cardiologist at Gentofte University Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark, and former head of the Danish Nutrition Council. “It's such an easy risk factor to remove.” . . .

At a New York City McDonald's, a large fries-and-chicken-nuggets combo was found to contain 10.2 grams of the trans fat, compared with 0.33 grams in Denmark and about 3 grams in Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic.

At KFCs in Poland and Hungary, a large hot wings-and-fries order had 19 grams of trans fats or more, versus 5.5 grams for wings and fried potato wedges in New York. But in Germany, Russia, Denmark and Aberdeen, Scotland, the same meal had less than a gram.

A large order of french fries at a New York City McDonald's contained 30 percent more trans fat than the same order from an Atlanta McDonald's.

No wonder we have an obesity problem here.  [bm]

 

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