Albany County trims the trans-fat

"New York City has started it, and as far as the state, I think Albany is trying to follow suit," she said. "A lot of chefs have already made the switchover."

Sokol said she is glad to see the change occur because, "trans-fats are the worst type of fats you can eat."

Sokol said that trans-fat is basically a manmade fat that combines oils and hydrogen so that they are partially stabilized. As a result, Sokol said, the product is solidified and has a longer shelf-life than alternative options.

While trans-fats do exist naturally in some products, including some dairy and meats, Sokol said, its use has been linked to obesity and some types of cancers. In addition, consumers can tell if they have eaten trans-fats because it leaves a film on the tongue, she said.

As far as what restaurant chefs should be using instead of trans-fats, Sokol said her favorite choice is canola oil. Since it is a liquid, she said, it is healthier for you in that it lowers bad cholesterol.

In the home, Sokol said, household chefs can make a healthier change as well by switching to light butters and tub margarine that is advertised as containing fewer trans-fats. But Sokol warned that it is important to read the ingredients on the labels.

"A manufacturer can legally say there is zero trans-fat in the oil, but on the ingredients it can contain [small percentages]," she said. After eating several products with labels like this, Sokol said the trans-fats begin to add up, and soon you are eating just as many as in products that advertise the amount of trans fat.

Sokol said she is pleased that the county has taken the steps necessary to take care of people who are unaware of the dangers of trans fat.

"I think we really owe it to our customers to keep them healthy," she said.""

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