FDA ban on trans fats; some can't tell the difference

By Jillian Marshall

November 9, 2013 Updated Nov 9, 2013 at 12:49 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Food and Drug Administration is looking to ban trans fats from processed foods. That means some restaurants may have to change their recipes and menus, but it's not likely patrons will taste the difference.

The FDA wants to ban artificial trans fats in foods all over the country, saying the heart-clogging substances are tied to heart attacks. But many restaurants have already cut them out, including a Binghamton staple, Lost Dog Café.

Lost Dog Café has been serving food without trans fats for more than five years. Co-owner Marie McKenna said it was a fairly easy transition.

"We looked at everything we had, including fryer oil, if we served crackers, (we) went down the list to make sure there are no trans fats in any of our food," McKenna said.

The main source of artificial trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils, which are found in foods like baked goods, creamers and margarine. They're used as a cheap way to improve taste and texture, while lengthening shelf life.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said PHOs are "not generally recognized as safe for use in foods."

But can restaurant goers taste the difference?

"I can't tell the difference," said Ryan Hildebrant, of Cape May Court House, NJ. "When it's this good I don't think it'll make that much of a difference."

New York City banned trans fats in 2006. The Lost Dog café is one of many restaurants across the state that has voluntarily cut out trans fats.

The FDA says the ban could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 heart-related deaths a year.

"It only makes sense, I don't understand why you wouldn't want to do it," McKenna said. "Especially for your health, it's a better thing for you."

The FDA opened a 60-day comment period on Thursday to hear what the public and food manufacturers think of the possible ban.