(HealthDay News) – The introduction of restaurant regulations restricting trans fat use in New York City (NYC) correlated with a significant decrease in the trans fat content of fast food purchases.

Sonia Y. Angell, MD, MPH, from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and colleagues examined the effect of the NYC regulation on the trans and saturated fat content of fast food purchases. Adult restaurant customers from 168 randomly selected NYC restaurant locations of 11 fast-food chains were interviewed. Customers made 6,969 purchases in 2007 and 7,885 in 2009.

The researchers found that the mean trans fat per purchase decreased significantly by 2.4g, with a slight increase in saturated fat (0.55g; P=0.011). Measured together, mean trans plus saturated fat content decreased significantly by 1.9g, overall. There was an increase in purchases with zero grams of trans fat (32–59%). The poverty rate of the neighborhood in which the restaurant was located did not correlate with trans fat changes in multivariate analysis.

“Our study suggests that reductions in the trans fat content of restaurant purchases can be achieved without an offsetting increase in saturated fat through regulation of the restaurant food environment,” the authors write. “It also provides objective findings that warrant further investigation and consideration for federal action and illustrates the importance of ongoing research and evaluation of nutritional policy.”

The study was funded in part by the City of New York.

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