Coast Guard gets heart healthy by removing artificial trans fats from menus

by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kip Wadlow)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard’s focus on increased heart health will begin Monday, Sept. 1, as the service stops the use of artificial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils in its dining facilities.

“(In order) to protect the long term health and operational readiness of our work force, the Coast Guard is adopting the evidence based recommendations by the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration and applying them to (the) Coast Guard food service policy,” said Coast Guard Director of Health and Safety Rear Adm. Mark Tedesco.

The Coast Guard’s decision is based on information released in January 2006 by the FDA requiring that the artificial trans fat content be listed on the nutritional facts panel of packaged foods and the June 2006 AHA’s recommendation that a healthy dietary pattern and lifestyle to combat heart disease includes limiting trans-fat consumption to less than one percent of total calories, or two grams in a 2000 calorie diet.

The secondary goal of the Coast Guard’s new food service policy includes limiting the amount of fried foods served to Coast Guard members.

“Due to the high caloric content and low nutritional value of deep fried foods Coast Guard dining facility personnel are strongly encouraged to reduce the use of deep fat fryers in Coast Guard staffed dining facilities and to implement healthy cooking techniques to support the health of the Coast Guard work force,” said Tedesco.

The Coast Guard’s is changing its policy to help its workforce stay healthy while performing its Homeland Security and National Defense missions.

“Why are we doing this organizationally? The science is clear, many studies have been conducted over the last decade or so, that look at health (and) fitness performance factors evidence shows without a doubt that the healthier, leaner, fitter person with a good attitude is by far the higher performing individual,” said Stephanie Zidek-Chandler of the Coast Guard Health Promotions Division.

To help meet these challenges the Coast Guard Health Promotions Division is working closely with the Coast Guard Food Service Specialists to develop and teach new, healthier cooking techniques and recipes to Coast Guard chefs in the field through specialized training courses.

“We want to take care of our people and that’s really the underlying philosophy. We want our folks to enjoy the benefits of their long careers. We want them to collect their retirement pay and all the benefits that come with serving the Coast Guard for decades,” said Zidek-Chandler.

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One Comment

  1. All well and good, but the kids from down south want their fried foods.