J. R. Simplot Co., the private Idaho company that supplies French fries, most notably to McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), has some good news. The company's new Infinity Fries are free of trans-fats -- those Atkins diet no-no's known to boost LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lipoprotein (a factor in arterial health).

Leading the retreat from trans-fats has been PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), whose Frito-Lay subsidiary announced in 2002 that Doritos, Tostitos, and Cheetos, would replace their hydrogenated oils with trans-fat-free corn oil. Would the products taste good? Well, Lay's and Ruffles had been using corn oil for years.

In 2003, the FDA mandated that, starting January 2006, the trans-fat content of foods be listed on Nutritional Facts labels. On April 6, Kraft (NYSE:KFT) announced trans-fat-free Oreos. Hurray! Instead of dealing with a negative health issue on labels, companies are responding with reformulated products.

And good thing, too. Almost certainly, it is fatty foods, like that triple-stack hamburger with fries, coupled with a lack of exercise, that's driving America toward obesity. The International Obesity Task Force estimates that there are 300 million obese adults worldwide, and that 1.7 billion need to lose some weight.

The Simplot product is unique in that it delivers, for the first time, a trans-fat-free French fry to the kitchen freezer. When baked, the fries leave the kitchen absolutely free of trans-fat. Hopefully, schools and health care facilities, the initial target for the product, will be baking their Infinity Fries to provide as healthy a fry as possible.

Assuming the fries pass the taste test, fast-food restaurants may toss them in the deep fryer. Besides being healthier (depending, of course, on the oil you use), they cook 20 to 30 seconds faster. A French fry is at its peak flavor when just cooked. The day may not be far off when Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) and Jack in the Box (NYSE:JBX) can use shorter cooking times to guarantee a hotter fry.

A trans-fat-free Simplot fry with "the same taste, aroma, and crispiness as traditional fries" is now available. That really is good news. If only I could get one right now.

The U.S. Surgeon General says that the overweight and obese are prone to heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and psychological disorders, such as depression. Care to discuss Vegetarian and Vegan issues, or just the implications of healthier food on the McDonald's menu? Try our message boards.

Fool contributor W.D. Crotty owns stock in McDonald's and PepsiCo.