Health Care

United Nations agency calls for all countries to rid foods of trans fat

United Nations agency calls for all countries to rid foods of trans fat”

New York Times: Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says (Jacobs, 5/14).

The move is in line with a measure released by the World Health Organization Monday to eliminate industrially produced trans fatty acids from the global food supply. For the record, Denmark had set an example for other nations by becoming the first to take an initiative of restricting the use of industrially manufactured trans-fats in food supply.

For the record, products such as ghee and margarine contain industrially-manufactured fats, which are found in fried and baked foods.

Eliminating these fats is the "key to protecting health and saving lives", it said, in a statement. Seemingly though, medical experts are of the view that healthier product substitutes that will not affect the food tastes or costs can be effectively utilized in their place.

In the draft guidelines, open for public comments till June 1, the global health body defined the healthy intake of saturated and trans fats to prevent cardiovascular disease - reduce the intake of saturated fats to less than 10 per cent of your daily calorie count, it said.

Trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to create a solid fat at room temperature. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter. Partially hydrogenated oils are primarily used for deep frying and as an ingredient in baked goods.

It is also the substance commonly associated with higher levels of "Bad" cholesterol in the blood, also known as LDL cholesterol, that tends to clump up in arteries and increase the risk of developing heart disease. Diets high in trans fats increase heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%.

REPLACE urges countries to assess and monitor trans fats consumption, establish laws to stamp out trans fats and raises awareness of their risk.

Earlier this month World Health Organization issued its first draft recommendations on trans fats since 2002, saying adults and children should consume a maximum of one percent of their daily calories in the form of trans fats. "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".

"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".

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