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Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Fatty Foods

Trans fats may be bad for you, but government regulation is worse.


States and municipalities across the country—from New York City to the State of California—have banned partially hydrogenated cooking oils, also known as “trans fats,” in restaurants under their jurisdiction. This much is apparent: Trans fats are bad for you. But government regulation is bad for you, too. Seemingly innocuous and well-meaning interventions can lead to less innocuous, less benign interventions later. Should we trust the state to regulate what we do, even when it is for our own good? Further, if we’re going to regulate, why should we stop at trans fats?

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Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business.