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Illinois House Votes To Ban Trans Fats In Restaurants

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CHICAGO (CBS) – In an unprecedented move today, the Illinois House voted to ban harmful trans fats in places like restaurants, movie theaters and vending machines at schools.

If it becomes law, Illinois would be only the second state, behind California, to ban the artery-clogging ingredients found in a variety of foods.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports on how that will change the food you eat.

The Daily Bar and Grill restaurant, 4560 N. Lincoln Ave., serves up an American staple–french fries, but the establishment uses tanks of healthier soy bean oil to cook the potatoes. Soon, all restaurants across Illinois could be required to take similar steps if a statewide ban on trans fats is approved.

Artificial trans fats are formed when liquid oil is processed into artery clogging solid fats – that raise the risk of coronary disease. They are used for frying and extending the shelf life of packaged products.

“Well it’s so bad partially because it’s manmade, so our body doesn’t know naturally how to process it,” said Cassie Vanderwall, clinical dietician at Rush University Medical Center.

Bakeries, which use large amounts of trans fats, would temporarily be exempt under the legislation. The ban wouldn’t apply to school cafeterias, which may not be able to afford the switch.

It would impact vending machines at schools and in any other location, as well as movie theaters serving fatty popcorn and candies.

Health conscious diners we spoke with said they’d appreciate the move that takes the mystery out of what’s on the plate.

“I don’t like guessing,” said one customer.

The Illinois Senate still needs to take action, but if approved the ban would go into effect in January of 2013.

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