McDonald's recently announced that more than 1,200 of its U.S. restaurants have switched to a trans-fat-free frying oil. No timeline has been set in place for switching over other McDonald's franchises.
The new oil being used is a blend of canola, soybean and corn oils.
McDonald's promised in 2002 to reduce trans fats. McDonald's has previously said that the delay was in part because they were researching oils that would not compromise the taste of their French fries.
Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein ("bad" cholesterol), and health officials have advised Americans to avoid it.
After many years of false promises and deception, McDonald's has finally begun the switch away from trans fatty cooking oil. Chains such as Wendy's and Taco Bell beat McDonald's to the punch last year.
McDonald's rollout of the newer oil will eventually hit all of their locations, and is a very small but good step in the right direction. Nevertheless, this newer blend of canola, soybean and corn oils probably isn't much healthier for you and certainly doesn't change the fact that French fries are still among the worst foods anyone can possibly eat.
Potatoes are bad enough when consumed in their natural state, as their simple sugars are rapidly converted to glucose that raises insulin levels and can devastate your health. But when they are fried, they also contain the potent cancer-causing substance acrylamide.
Foods that are fried in vegetable oils like canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils are particularly problematic. These polyunsaturated fats easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body.
They are also very susceptible to heat-induced damage from cooking. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain.
I would encourage you to read the article "Secrets of the Edible Oil Industry" for further information.
I am fond of telling patients that one French fry is worse for your health than one cigarette, so you may want to consider this snippet before you order your next 'Biggie' order. In my book there simply isn't ever any excuse for eating French fries or potato chips.
It's a virtual certainty -- if your diet is largely made up of fast food fare you're accelerating the aging process and compromising your overall health. One of the first steps you can take toward optimizing your health safely and effectively: Make the commitment to prepare your own meals at home.
On Vital Votes, reader Sean from Fresno, California adds: