Article in the Telegraph
"On Friday night, California became the first state to prohibit the use of artery-clogging trans-fats in all its restaurants and bakeries, in legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Planners in America's second largest city have backed an unprecedented moratorium on the opening of new outlets of chains such as Burger King and KFC in South Los Angeles, in an attempt to impose better eating habits on the area's mainly black and Hispanic population.
The restriction is the most recent example of local leaders across America seeking to impose a healthier lifestyle on residents to counter soaring obesity rates.
Last week in New York, health inspectors began to fine restaurant chains that fail to display prominently the calorie counts of their offerings.
Some major fast food franchises, which are backing a legal challenge against the regulation, reluctantly began to post the often alarming calorific breakdowns just one day before the new regime of fines took effect.
In Los Angeles the full council is expected on Tuesday to approve the restrictions across a 32 square-mile area of the city, where fast-food eateries currently make up 45 per cent of restaurants.
Officials have received inquiries from other American cities which are considering adopting a similar law. But the California Restaurant Association condemned the move as "damaging, misleading, uncalled for and bad for business".
The state, often a trailblazer on nutritional issues, is also ordering the phasing-out of trans-fats, a synthetic product linked to heart disease, from its 88,000 restaurants by 2010 and other food outlets such as bakeries by 2011.
"Today we are taking a strong step towards creating a healthier future for California," said Gov Schwarzenegger. New York was the first city to ban trans-fats from its restaurants and Boston and Baltimore have voted to follow suit.
New York's calorie count initiative is also being copied. San Francisco plans to implement the same rules later this year, in the face of opposition from the restaurant industry which plans court actions to try to block the move.
Health inspectors issued 277 "violation notices" to chains with outlets that failed to display the calorie information during an initial 10-week grace period in New York. Last night officials could not yet say how many actual fines - of up to $2,000 - had been levied since last weekend.
Already the new law has led to shocking discoveries by customers, including 630-calorie muffins, 1,300-calorie salads and a 2,000-calorie "Bloomin' Onion" appetiser - only just short of the recommended government calorie intake for an American adult for a day."
Well I'm sure trans-fats are food baddies and I'm well in favour of banning them, but the widespread belief that reducing calories will reduce obesity is absolutely wrong.
To reduce obesity it is necessary to reduce salt/sodium intake, not calories. Restaurants should be required to display the salt content of the food they provide, rather than the calories.
The fattest people - the morbidly obese - are usually the victims of prescribed drugs that cause sodium and water retention. Doctors prescribe these drugs far too readily/carelessly/recklessly, often in high dose, and without the important warning that while taking them the patient should avoid eating salt of salty food.
See Health problems associated with salt sensitivity and fluid retention
Lose weight, reduce your risk of most cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, angina, vascular dementia, osteopenia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolaemia, depression, liver and kidney problems, and improve your health in many other ways without drugs or expense by eating less salt! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!Obesity and the Salt Connection
See Sodium in foods
See also FAT RETENTION