updated 11/12/2013 AT 5:15 PM ET
•originally published 11/13/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
Finally! The U.S. government announced on Thursday that it will be banning the use of trans fats in commercial food production.
While only 11 years later than countries like Denmark and Iceland, the move is projected to save at least 20,000 American lives each year. The FDA determined that these partially hydrogenated oils – long referred to as “killer fats” – are no longer recognized as “safe for use in food.”
Why are trans fats so controversial? These fake fats clog your arteries and directly contribute to arteriosclerosis (blockage and hardening of your arteries). These man-made fats are created when the liquid oils are turned into solid fats using a process called hydrogenation.
The problem is that these fats are notoriously used by the food industry to extend the shelf life of food as well as improve its taste and texture (at a significantly cheaper cost than better quality fats).
While some companies, like McDonalds, have actually gone trans-fat-free for seven years, others, like Popeye’s, serve meals that are shockingly high in trans fats – a Popeye’s hash brown has nearly 10 grams of artery-clogging trans fats.