Trans fatty acids, also known as trans fat, is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. It is found in many other foods besides margarine and shortening, however, including fried foods like french fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers. Read more about dangers of trans fats here.
As public debates are being held in the United States to ban trans fats, The City of New York's health department is pushing its 20,000 restaurants and fast food outlets to remove trans-fats from the food they serve.
The push to legally prevent individuals from having a french fry may prevail, given the dire health risks and the health care costs and politics that shape public opinion.
This debate has brought forward two passionate groups of people with opposing interests.
Advocates for the ban present evidence that trans fats clog arteries, cause death and cost billions in tax dollars in medical care each year.
Civil libertarians accuse the other side of promoting a nanny state — that is, an intrusive government that dictates how people may live under the guise of taking care of them.
In a country where both public and private health care have become increasingly expensive, the best choice for most people would have to be, to eat right and avoid clogging up arteries in the first place.
Those fighting for civil liberties needn't hold their breath, they can grab their soft drinks or eat whatever food they want, for they have a right to do so. But they can also make better informed choices when the suppliers of food are required to provide more nutritional information perhaps also alerting the health risks.