State Fair Takes the (Bad) Fat Out of Funnel Cakes

A man making funnel cakes at a fair. i i

This year, the Indiana State Fair decided to ban the use of trans fat cooking oils when preparing their deep-fried treats. Brian McEntire/iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption Brian McEntire/iStockphoto.com
A man making funnel cakes at a fair.

This year, the Indiana State Fair decided to ban the use of trans fat cooking oils when preparing their deep-fried treats.

Brian McEntire/iStockphoto.com

The Indiana State Fair was held August 8-19, 2007. Check out some of the trans fat-free highlights.

A deep-fried Twinkie is far from a healthy food choice. But this year, the treat has come one small step closer to not giving you a heart attack on the spot — at least in Indiana.

The Indiana State Fair has become the first in the nation to ban trans fat cooking oil. In its own way, Indiana is following New York City and those fast-food chains that are attempting to phase out trans fat from cooking oils.

Still, while favorite fair confections will no longer be fried in trans fat, deep-fried candy bars and their ilk will continue to be packed with belly-expanding calories.

Many Indiana fairgoers were receptive to the switch in cooking oils. Those who sampled the food at this year's event thought most items still tasted the same.

Jonie Monroe sells deep-fried, chocolate-covered strawberries in a red and white striped concession stand that sits under a tree. She says her strawberries do not taste any different fried in the new cooking oil.

"People come to the fair to splurge and get that special something," she says. "So if there is a way ... we can give that food and make it a little healthier, I think that's good."

Most people say the new, non trans fat cooking oil is a good idea. But for some, it takes away from the fair flavor.

"It tastes diet — you know, how diet pop tastes. And I just don't like it," says fairgoer Dennis Darenger.

While some may not like the change, most appreciate a more health-conscious slant to this year's state fair.

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