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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Give me a break

Yeah, and they taste worse, too:

McDonald's french fries are now trans-fat-free in all its restaurants in the United States and Canada, the fast-food restaurant chain said Thursday.

Way to ruin one of life's small pleasures.


Bob G.
Fri, 05/23/2008 - 11:02am

When I read that, I was like...another bastion of socio-culinary enjoyment down the crapper.

Guess they want a verfyable REASON for the BAD TASTE in our mouth these days.
(I thought it had to do with high FUEL PRICES...silly me)

Finding a way to get cars to run on MILK these days is looking like quite the bargain in contrast.
(and NO infants on hamster wheel jokes)



Fri, 05/23/2008 - 11:29am

McD's fries will taste the same with or without trans-fat oil, Leo, and if they say otherwise they're talking through their paper hats. The restaurant objection to trans-fats is about stability and shelf life, which are perfectly fine reasons, but don't play with customers as well as, "But it won't taste as good!"

The big change in the taste of McD's fries came when they dropped animal fats from the fryer, which was years and years ago and made in response to customer demand for lower-cholesterol fries. Beef tallow and even lard is not a trans fat. Ask the Google.

Fri, 05/23/2008 - 11:30am

That is, "the restaurant objection to trans-fat bans," etc.

Harl Delos
Fri, 05/23/2008 - 12:24pm

The original McDonald's fries were shipped to the stores as potatoes. They were peeled, cut, and blanched every morning from fresh spuds.

They tasted better than the frozen fries that McDonald's later started buying from Simplot, even though the Simplot fries were initially cooked in the same fat.

The switch to frozen fries wasn't as significant as the change in oil, but both of those changes were a lot bigger than the current change in oils.

Of course, back in the beginning, they used to fry the burgers instead of microwaving them, and they toasted the buns. They changed the recipe for the buns at the same time they stopped toasting them, and now the buns taste pretty doughy.

If you want a good burger from a big chain, try Five Guys. None in Fort Wayne, but there's one on West 86th Street, near Michigan. Great burgers, great fries, pop and iced tea - that's about all they sell, but they do a good job.

Bill Marriott recommended Five Guys on his blog, which I thought unusual. Marriott's owns some restaurants, and franchises others, but Five Guys ain't one of them.

Leo Morris
Fri, 05/23/2008 - 2:28pm

Nance, maybe it's just my aging taste buds, but I've noticed a difference. Harl, I worked at McD's back in the good, old real-potato days, and I remember hefting 100-bags pounds of spuds from the back of the trucks to the basement of McD's on Jefferson Street downtown. They even blanched them before deep-frying them.

Larry Morris
Fri, 05/23/2008 - 4:44pm

ah, remembering the "real" good-ol days - those 100 lb bags of potatoes we all used to "toss" around, ...

Harl Delos
Fri, 05/23/2008 - 6:07pm

3, 3, 2 and 2, please.

Sat, 05/24/2008 - 2:13pm

Junk science raises its ugly head ...and our food prices yet again. From FoxNews.com:

Trans Fat Lawsuit Against KFC Based on Thin Science
"Studies indicate that consumption of trans fats temporarily elevate levels of so-called

Harl Delos
Sat, 05/24/2008 - 5:28pm

Back in the late 1970s, gadfly, the folks at the Central Soya Research and Engineering center were concerned enough about trans fat that they were trying to figure out how to hydrogenate soy oil without producing it.

Although the public didn't hear about trans fats until the 1990s, those first canadian studies on trans fats were almost a decade old, and nobody at Central Soya seemed to have the slightest doubt that the studies were valid. It would be overstating the case to say they were quaking in their boots, I suppose, but they were waiting for the other boot to fall, and working in ernest to try to solve the problem.

There's nothing wrong with Big French Fries, and nothing wrong with Big Fried Chicken. Chicken fat is naturally trans-fat free. So is bacon fat. So is lard. So is everything else in nature. The only way to get trans fat is to hydrogenate oils.

Sun, 05/25/2008 - 5:57pm


Canadians are naturally liberal in their intepretations of government rights vs individual freedoms as best demonstrated by their idiotic and out-of-control Human Rights Commission. Junkscience.com has reviewed all formal studies done on trans fats and quite easily determined that none of the studies, even the extensive ones, provides correlations sufficient to conclude that trans fats cause coronary heart disease. The largest study among some 90,000 nurses over 20 years concluded that no correlation exists between total fat intake, animal fat intake saturated fat intake or cholesterol to the risk of coronary heart disease. "The reported association between trans fat and coronary heart disease is only statistically significant for the highest consumption of trans fats -- but it's still a very weak statistical association (relative risk = 1.53)."

Harl, my point about chicken fat is that the gub'mint got upset about animal fats long before they didn't like margerine. Even Nance mentions the disappearance of lard from the kitchen.

Harl Delos
Mon, 05/26/2008 - 12:52am

The Canadian study of trans-fats that started this whole thing off didn't have anything to do with government rights versus individual freedoms. It was simply a scientific study that looked at whether trans fats, a synthetic compound that does not exist in nature, is safe to eat.

The folks at JunkScience.com have a vested interest in claiming that something is junk science, because if they say otherwise, they lose traffic to their website. I don't know whether the page you quote was written by someone who was corrupt or who was merely incompetent, but he's wrong.

He supports his misleading conclusion by misreading the data from the Nurses Health Study. In fact, the NHS data says that consuming 2% more trans fatty acid leads to a 93% increase in heart disease. It's not the science that's junk, it's the junkscience.com page.

Furthermore, studying nurses is going to understate a problem like this. Nurses is a dangerous and strenuous occupation, and if someone is sidelined with a debilitating condition, say, heart disease, then they are no longer part of the study. That would be less true when studying someone with a less demanding occupation.

Incidently, there's a very strong relationship between diabetes and heart disease.

The raving liberals at Purdue and at Penn State published a study early this decade that showed a major increase in diabetes in increased in animals with low levels of conjugated linoleic acid - a natural, not a trans, fat. Where do humans get CLA? Well, the best source used to be beef fat and pork fat from livestock raised on pasture. These days, most beef and pork comes from confinement feeding, the animals are raised to have less fat, and people avoid what little fat is left.

If you think diabetes is caused by overeating, you've been reading too many newspaper articles. The diabetes scientific journals haven't been saying that for at least 15 years.

Anyway, because of the Purdue and Penn State studies, a lot of research has been looking at the connection between trans fat and insulin resistance, insulin resistance being the cause of Type 2 diabetes. The studies pretty much all agree: trans fat in the diet consistantly and substantially increases insulin resistance, and thus diabetes.

Your memory is a little off when it comes to 20th century history. Back in the 1930s, the government was concerned about margarine. They couldn't decide whether it should be called oleo, oleomargarine, margarine, butterine, or imitation butter. Consumers had to mix the margarine with a little packet of oils once they bought it, because government wouldn't allow the margarine producers to sell the final product.

It was only in the postwar years, especially in the late 1950s, that the government only started advising people to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturates. They were concerned that returning vets were developing health problems.

At that point, they knew there was a problem with the data, but they didn't know what it was. Immigrants who continued to eat their "Mediterranean Diet" didn't develop the same health problems as those who followed the All-American diet of crisco, velveeta, and salt.

Now, we know the problem was that they were lumping all saturated fats together. Lard and butter are fairly safe; in fact, the dietary recommendation is that you get 10% of your calories from saturated fats - but there's no minimum daily recommended requirement for trans fats. It's like the tar from tobacco - it's better off completely avoided.

Are you suggesting that the Pure Food and Drug act be repealed?

Mon, 05/26/2008 - 8:26pm


Let me try again. First let me say that I understand that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has nothing to do with trans fats, but that organization typifies the bureaucratic, "stand-in-line" mind set of our northern neighbors ...and BTW, I like Canadians.

Second of all, since I had the "pleasure" of of mixing white oleo with yellow coloring in my youth, I probably did not need that reminder, although "senior moments" do happen to me occasionally.

Lastly, before I return to trans fats, let me say that having spent a decade in the processed meat industry with two of the the country's finest sausage makers, I think I have come to know something about animal fats and the bum rap that that industry took in the 1980s. At that time I saw the immediate effect of the Pure Food and Drug Act at work, since we "lived" with federal meat inspectors. But hey, they were out to assure that we were not selling poisonous or rotten meat.

Since I am a Type II diabetic, I understand the causal relationship between diabetis and coronary disease ...but we are not talking about other factors such as smoking and diabetis ...and therein lies the problem in measuring. FYI, scientists look for at least a 3 to 1 correlation before they deem a relationship to be undeniable ...and the claim that fatty acids leads to a 93% increase in heart disease is a play on words. A 1.93 to 1 correlation is obviously less than 3 to 1.

Junkscience.com is not the only opponent of nanny state interference in our lives. The New England Journal of Medicine in an editorial and the American Council on Science and Health both point out that(quoting the ACSH) "high levels of dietary trans-fats, derived primarily from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, can raise levels of LDL, the so-called

Harl Delos
Mon, 05/26/2008 - 11:38pm

At that time I saw the immediate effect of the Pure Food and Drug Act at work, since we