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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Consumers are speaking out over a decision by the FDA to phase out so called, ‘trans fats’.  Medical experts say the artificial fats can put consumers at a greater risk for developing heart disease.  They have been added to products in order to add flavor and lengthen shelf life.  Many food makers have already phased out trans fats due to consumer demand.

The CDC estimates a ban could save as many as 7,000 lives annually.  We talked with some consumers who feel a ban goes too far.

‘This is a free country.  We should be able to eat what we want,’ said one St. Louis resident.

Dr. Andrew Kates is a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  He applauds the effort to ban trans fats.

‘Cardiovascular disease remains the number one leading cause of death in the United States,’ said Kates.   ‘More men and women die from cardiovascular disease than the next three causes combined.’

We went shopping and found some surprises.  Many products on one local grocery store shelf did not have trans fats.  The ice cream we checked did not, Doritos did not, and Cheez-Its did not.

The items we found with trans fats included Bisquick, cake frosting and refrigerated cinnamon rolls.

Kates hopes consumers will not be confused into believing all fats are bad.  He said a balanced diet and exercise are the best ways to fight heart disease.  He added that recent studies found women partaking in what`s known as a Mediterranean diet are living longer lives.

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FDA takes first step toward banning trans fats from U.S. foods