Aramark dining services stops using trans fat in food, matching national trends and some cities’ total bans

Laura Lucas

Laura Lucas

Since last November, ARAMARK, the company that provides the dining facilities on campus, has been considering a drastic switch.

On Jan. 26, the campus became trans-fat free, according to Lacie Petersen of SDSU Dining Services. The main difference is in the type of fryer oil that is used.

The reason for the switch was ARAMARK’s own consumer research showed consumers are concerned with trans fats in their foods due to the effect they have on overall health, Petersen said.

So what is trans fat?

“The body recognized trans fat the same as saturated fats,” said Kendra Kattelmann, professor and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics.

The effects on the body, Kattelmann said, are that trans fat raises cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

When people eat products with zero trans fat, they still have to pay attention to the calorie content, she said. Calories are what make people gain and lose weight.

The recommended amount of trans fat in a healthy diet is two to five grams per day, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The switch has been noticed by some of the students and the reaction has been mixed.

Andrea Vanderwerf, a sophomore dietetics major and student manager at Larson Commons, said the main difference is the new oil is clearer.

She said the fries taste the same even with the switch to zero trans fat.

Mandy Rosse, a freshman graphic design major, said, “I noticed a difference in the way the fries now taste. They have a funky flavor.”

Rosse noted that she does not care about trans fat.

“It reminds me of being in high school where they tried to get us to eat healthier,” she said.

Like her, Abigail Gerhart, a freshman English major, said she is OK with some things being heart healthy, but people are still going to gain weight.

Both Rosse and Gerhart said that if they were older and in danger of a heart attack, they would be more concerned about trans fats.

Since the fats are found naturally in some foods, including dairy products and meats, ARAMARK has not gotten rid of all products containing the substance. Besides changing the fryer oil, the type of chips sold now in The Union has also been switched to zero trans fat.

Many products say on the label that they contain zero trans fat, Kattelmann said.

#1.883649:2723493666.jpg:Kattelman, Kendra new.jpg:Kendra Kattelman, professor and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics:#1.883648:812732077.jpg:trans-fat1.jn.jpg:Ravi-Kumar Gubbala pulls a batch of french fries out of a vat of oil in The Union March 20 . The oil no longer contains trans fat.: