Many restaurant chains have been ditching trans fats from their menus, but McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) strategy in this area has long been lagging. Now, word has it that McDonald's has finally had its "eureka" moment when it comes to ditching the unhealthy oils without ditching taste.

Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) and Yum Brands' (NYSE:YUM) KFC and Taco Bell had already come up with new formulations that cut the trans-fat content in their fried foods. And of course, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) recently joined the gang as well. Trans-fats now have no place at Disney (NYSE:DIS) or Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), either.

Increased media attention to unhealthy trans fats has surely increased public awareness of the substance, which lowers "good" cholesterol and raises "bad" cholesterol levels. Of course, a high-profile trans-fat ban in New York City certainly upped the ante for many of the biggest restaurant chains.

McDonald's has finally found a solution that retains the well-known taste of its French fries, according to first word from the Chicago Tribune, as well as an article from the Associated Press. The new cooking oil will be canola-based, and will include corn and soy oils. Apparently McDonald's tested 18 types of oils in more than 50 blends in the last seven years.

Of course, McDonald's has only said that it is phasing the new oil in; it didn't say when it will be used in all of its restaurants. One can only imagine its New York restaurants are among the first, since the July 1 deadline for the trans-fat ban isn't that far away.

If McDonald's was a bit slow with this innovation, we can probably cut it some slack (especially now that it has come up with a solution). McDonald's food is considered rather iconic (even if some critics rail against the health profile of some of its most famous traditional menu items). In December, I wrote about McDonald's testing of fancier, pricier Angus burgers, and I had to admit that there is an iconic element to its traditional, no-frills hamburgers. Same goes for its French fries, and I can see why McDonald's would want to try to be extra-careful to maintain the taste many Americans have become accustomed to from an order of Mickey D's fries.

McDonald's sure has been firing on all cylinders lately -- its recent quarterly earnings tidings told the tale. However, I can see how McDonald's shareholders might be breathing a big sigh of relief knowing that the company's dealing with the increasingly high-profile trans-fat issue. And of course, I'd say shareholders are eager to taste-test the new fries and determine if they really will taste the same as the old -- "better for you" with the same old taste is obviously the optimum result.

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Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Fool has a tasty but healthy disclosure policy.