Medicine

World Health Organization calls for removal of trans fat in food supply by 2023

World Health Organization calls for removal of trans fat in food supply by 2023

World Health Organization director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said implementing "the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease".

Nutritionist Sujatha Stephen said, "We used to have only saturated and unsaturated fats but nowadays because of the advent of the western foods the use of trans fats is increasing".

Pixabay/huntlhArtificial trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are made from vegetable oil hardened via a process called hydrogenation and are commonly used in fried or baked snack foods, as well as items like margarine and frostings. The WHO announced a new plan to phase out trans fats from the food supply.

Trans fats increase the levels of LDL-cholesterol, a well-accepted biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk, and decreases levels of HDL-cholesterol, which carry away cholesterol from arteries and transport it to the liver, that secretes it into the bile.

"A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible", he said, "Now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death". But healthier alternatives that will not affect taste or cost of food can be used, the World Health Organization said.

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is mounting a campaign to have risky man-made trans fats disqualified from use in all food products.




Several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food. The agency gave the industry three years to phase out PHOs. "In South Asian countries, they have very, very high risk of heart disease and high intakes of trans fats", Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the Nutrition for Health Department at the WHO, emphasized in his statement.

There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products.

Action is needed in low- and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world, Ghebreyesus said. Nevertheless, the country has the opportunity to address its health and economics by supporting more locally produced oils.

In the U.S., New York City in 2006 banned restaurants from serving food with trans fats.

The United States Food and Drug Administration reports that as many as 7,000 fatalities and 20,000 heart attacks can be prevented by the reduction of trans fats in the American diet.


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