Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

World Health Organization plans to eliminate trans fats from food by 2023

Representative image Representative image
Ben Pena | 16 May, 2018, 06:38

Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition professor at Harvard, explains that the decision on the part of the World Health Organization to back up the global elimination of trans fats is a big help in the fight and says that countries that take heed of the advice will see great improvements in the health of their populations.

Food makers liked artificial trans fats because they prolonged product shelf life.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release Tuesday to reiterate a previous announcement that it will ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) - the major source of artificial trans fats in processed foods - from July 1.

Eliminating these fats is the "key to protecting health and saving lives", it said, in a statement. They are produced by using hydrogen as an additive to vegetable oil which causes liquid fats to become solid when kept at room temperature.

A study performed in New York City in 2016, showed that a ban on trans fats there affected a 5% reduction in deaths for cardiovascular reasons and provided savings of $3.9 million for every 100,000 citizens of the city. "But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food", The global health body said in the statement.

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Dr. Tom Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, has declared that NY has become the first state in the USA that has followed the footsteps of Denmark by eliminating trans-fats a decade ago.

He's right. Various studies have shown that both the bans in NY and Denmark noticeably reduced the rate of death from heart disease in just three years.

In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly than in comparable OECD countries.

According to the World Health Organization, action is needed in low and middle income countries, particularly in South Asia and Africa where controls of use of industrially-produced trans-fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world. Many dairy and meat products contain trans fats that have also been linked to heart disease. Nevertheless, the country has the opportunity to address its health and economics by supporting more locally produced oils. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter. They raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels, which increases risk of heart disease and stroke.

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