Austin Shouldn't Ban Trans Fat

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A Novemeber 7, 2006 piece by Stephanie Beckett notes the position of ACSH and Dr. Elizabeth Whelan on trans fat:

A ban on trans fat also implies that foods without trans fats are inherently healthier, which is simply not the case. Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, a public health expert with degrees from the Yale School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health, who is also the president of the American Council on Science and Health, said that no single dietary factor has an inordinate effect on heart disease. According to Whelan, physicians do not see major cholesterol reductions even in patients with very strict low-fat diets. Instead, obesity is one of the main causes of heart disease, and obesity can only be tackled by reducing the caloric content of the entire diet.

But trans fats certainly add calories to food, so banning them must have some benefit, right?

Well, maybe. But, as Whelan points out, the myopic focus on trans fat has the potential to confuse the public. These days, you probably see labels on grocery store food proudly announcing that a product has "0g Trans Fat!" Maybe you've even bought one of these food items because you figured that zero grams of any kind of fat must be better than more than zero grams of that fat.

However, this food may be even less healthy than other food options, because it could contain more saturated fats or more calories than the other food.