Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

World Health Organization Seeks Ban Of Unhealthy Trans Fats

World Health Organization Seeks Ban Of Unhealthy Trans Fats

The World Health Organisation intends to stop the global supply of trans fats by 2023.

Trans fats are formed when vegetable oil goes through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil more stable and solid at room temperature and increases its shelf-life, the FDA said.

According to the World Health Organization experts, there are two main sources for trans fats: natural sources (in dairy products and meat of ruminants such as cows and sheep) and industrially-produced sources (partially hydrogenated oils).

The WHO on Tuesday released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

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Those fats are often found in common fried foods, fast food and snacks, and sometimes in desserts as well, according to the WHO.

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.

But removing trans fat from processed foods won't completely eradicate the threat.

The intake of TFA results in more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, annually. 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. "But in the last three or four years, most big food companies have stopped using trans fats", she said.

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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.

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

Trans-fatty acids can also occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminant animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, etc).

"Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed" to it, Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Los Angeles Times. Nevertheless, the country has the opportunity to address its health and economics by supporting more locally produced oils. This is because they're used in partially-hydrogenated oils, which were first used as a butter replacement and then later as a replacement for foods containing saturated fatty acids.

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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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