The risk of eating at KFC

As Mayor Bloomberg debates banning trans fats (hydrogen mixed with vegetable oil) in NYC restaurants, Canada is apparently considering banning them nation-wide. They would not be the first country to do so, as Denmark banned them in 2003. Some of the data now being collected is hard to believe:

The CTV and Globe and Mail study found that KFC’s deep-fried chicken pieces (known as Popcorn Chicken) and fries meals had the highest levels of trans fats at a whopping 18.6 grams — a level that if eaten daily may boost your risk of heart disease by nearly 100 per cent.

There is nothing good for the consumer that comes from this substance (unless you believe long shelf-life alone is a virtue). Have you ever wished the crackers you bought eight years ago for $0.50 were still around?

I find it hard to understand how anyone can defend this additive when an article published this year by reasearchers at the Harvard School of Public Health suggests banning trans fats from food in the US alone could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and cardiac deaths each year!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of fried chicken. I just find it a shame that KFC makes it so dangerous and unnecessarily so. A ban on this substance makes about as much sense as having laws against secretly poisoning the water supply. I believe that people who say individuals should be allowed to make bad choices and kill themselves with KFC do not understand the cost and nature of the risks.

One final thought. David Lawrence, the journalist credited with bringing the trans fat danger to public prominence in 1996, has posted a list of things that parents should demand from schools in order to reduce health risks to children:

* Low fat milk offered in clear plastic bottles – especially chocolate milk, kids will drink more of it.
* DO not allow no-fat food to be served. Studies show that no-fat foods actually cause weight gain because it changes the way the body is processing fats and how they NOT burn fats in the body.
* Milk and dairy products should be organic that do not contain anti-biotics and pesticides like regular milk does.
* Cows feed non-organic grains have increased pesticides in milk. Cows that are injected with anti-biotics pass this into their milk. Studies show that by ingesting these by-products of anti-biotics in products is lowering the resistant to bacteria in the human body.
*All dairy products SHOULD not contain carregenan. Carreegenan is used in many products as a thickening agent. Studies have shown it increases inflammation throughout body and increases arithritis and breathing disorders like asthma.
* All meats should be from organic sources. Chicken should be organic, free from anti-biotic injections and range fed. Eggs should be as well.
* More fresh water fish – NO FARM RAISED FISH – these fish are showing unusual strains of bacteria in the meat.
* More fruits and vegetables on the menus – preferably organic to reduce pesticide ingestion * All fruits and vegetables should be throughly washed. If not organic, outside peelings like apples and other fruits should not be eaten with these peelings because of possible high pesticide contamination.
*Check to see where fruits are coming from, what country? Fruits coming from Mexico and South America where they allow the use of many pesticides BANNED in the U.S. In these countries, farmers also use human waste and sewage water for fertilizers. Do you want your children eating this?
* No junk foods – demand that all junk foods be taken out of food machines.
* No soft drinks – demand that all soft drinks be replaced with drinking water or 100% fruit juices.
*Juices should not be sweetened with high fructose syrup, a leading cause of your children developing diabetes.
* Whole grains in bread products
* Healthy oils to be used, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, safflower oil.

I like that he is focusing on children, since they have few choices in their food and little influence themselves over the lunch programs. In other words, their risk is higher because of their vulnerability and the lack of options to avoid the threat. The “you should be smart enough to eat elsewhere” argument falls flat when you are talking about kids with a programmed lunch system.

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