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Hospitals Serving Up French Fries Laden With Trans Fats

The Center For Science In the Public Interest (CSPI) released a special report on February 6, 2006 which indicates that many of the top hospitals in the United States are serving up French fries that are laden with trans fats.

The following chart indicates the number of grams of trans fat that were found in 6 ounces of French fries from McDonald's, 18 medical centers and hospitals, and the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration.

6 ounces of French fries from: Contain this many grams of trans fat:
McDonald's (large order) 8.0
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 5.8
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 5.3
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor 4.9
UCLA Medical Center 4.6
University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle 4.5
University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center 4.1
Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 4.1
St. Louis (Mo.) Children's Hospital 3.9
Stanford Medical Center, Palo Alto, Calif. 3.4
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis 3.2
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. 3.0
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston 2.1
Children's Medical Center Dallas 2.0
Children's Hospital Boston 1.9
New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell 1.8
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 1.8
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland 1.4
University of Chicago Hospitals 1.3
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 1.2
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. 0.2
Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md. 0.1

The French fries from all of the institutions included in this study were tested by an independent laboratory.

We can confidently assume that institutions that ranked high in trans fat content were (and probably still are) using partially hydrogenated oils to deep fry their French fries.

Not only are some of the patients of these institutions being exposed to dangerous trans fats, visitors and staff members are also consuming trans fats every time they eat an order of fries at the cafeterias in these institutions.

The Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins are the only two top-ranked hospitals that do not serve French fries in their cafeterias. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Clinic has a McDonald's restaurant on their campus.

To be clear on why hospitals of all places should not be serving foods that are laced with trans fats, the most common health conditions related to regular consumption of trans fats are:

  • Immune system depression
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sterility
  • Birth defects
  • Decreased ability to produce breast milk
  • Loss of vision
  • Weakening of bones and muscles

An additional reason why hospitals should not be serving French fries is that they are high in acrylamide, a compound that is known to increase one's risk of developing cancer.

If you work at a hospital or school, please do what you can to encourage the adminstrator(s) to stop serving French fries. They are truly one of the deadliest foods that a person can eat.


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