Congratulations, albeit tentative, goes out to KFC, which is expected to announce today that it will replace its trans fat hydrogenated oils with a healthier soybean oil by April 2007.
At Balance of Food, we hate to be cynical about whether it will happen. After all, Wendy's got rid of its trans fats. But McDonald's still hasn't after promising for four years. If KFC is successful, we will give them their proper due at that time.
I can't imagine that Colonel Harlan Sanders (the person, not the cartoon caricature) had to use trans-fat laden oils to make his original 11 herbs and spices chicken. So somehow the solution had to be easier than this.
There is a lot made about trans fats. The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 2 grams per day. Currently there are 4.5 grams in one KFC extra crispy chicken breast. The fewer, the better. Eating KFC chicken will be healthier without trans fats, but you still shouldn't eat it every day.
One intriguing note under the radar. According to ABC News, KFC officials told them they'd been secretly using their trans fat-free oil in several cities for months, and most diners didn't notice the difference. I hope that tidbit is correct, and that is the way to do it (McDonald's, are you listening?). People are so busy stuffing their face with fast food that they aren't likely to notice the difference.
Unfortunately, there is an asterisk to KFC's efforts. Some of the chain's menu items, specifically biscuits, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, and chicken pot pie, will still contain trans fat. Hopefully, KFC will be able to figure out how to get the rest of menu up to speed or note that these products contain trans fat.