Industry News | June 22, 2006

Pat & Oscar's Goes Trans Fat Free

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Pat & Oscar's Restaurants has gone 100 percent trans fat free on their menu. After extensive development and testing, the new menu rolls out in locations throughout Southern California later this month.

"Pat & Oscar's prides itself on responding to guest feedback and dining trends," says John Wright, Pat & Oscar's CEO. "We knew our guests wanted healthier menu options, so we decided to proactively update our entire menu and go 100 percent trans fat free--including our signature hand-rolled hot breadsticks," he added.

Trans Fats are otherwise known as trans fatty acids. These types of fats are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reduce HDL (good) cholesterol levels, increase arterial plaque production and cause general digestive disorders. Food-based fats generally fall along three lines: saturated, unsaturated and trans fat. Saturated fats (usually found in meats and animal-based foods) are not especially healthy, but the body can tolerate modest amounts. Unsaturated fats occur naturally in vegetable-based oils and some seafood. Most unsaturated fats are considered very healthy, because they do not collect in the bloodstream and help reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol found in saturated fats. The final category, Trans Fat, has become very controversial in recent years.

Trans Fat shares many of the same characteristics as saturated fat, including the negative effect on cholesterol levels and the tendency to clog arteries. However, the base of many trans fat products is vegetable oils, which ordinarily provide healthy unsaturated fat. Trans fat is the result of an artificial process converting vegetable oil into a more stable form of shortening.

Recent studies on the long-term effects of trans fat have led medical groups to speak out against the continued use of partially or fully-hydrogenated oils and shortenings. Reviewing these studies and other industry news, Pat & Oscar's has decided to remove trans fats from the menu and prepare dishes with alternative ingredients.

Pat & Oscar's went 100-percent trans fat free by working with its vendors and suppliers to come up with healthier alternatives to ingredients already used in the company's recipes. "We challenged our vendors to come up with zero trans fat products that met our high standards for taste and freshness," says Amy McGuinness, director of purchasing and culinary development for Pat & Oscar's. "As a result, we now have a new, completely customized formula for our breadsticks and potatoes that took more than six months to perfect. We are very pleased with the final result."