United Nations urges countries to eliminate trans fats, reduce cardiac deaths


The United States and Canada are set to introduce nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils - the main source of artificial trans fat, this year.

The WHO plan is only targeting industrially produced trans fats.

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

World Health Organization hopes that participating countries use a six-part process called the REPLACE action package to phase out trans fats.

While trans fats don't spoil as quickly as other fats, they pose serious health risks, such as higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The WHO's new policy can't actually ban trans fats in these countries. Then, in 2006, New York City passed a law banning trans fats, phasing them out of the city by the summer of 2008.

The WHO pointed out that several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally-imposed limits on the amount that can be present in packaged food.

Denmark was the first country to outlaw industrially-produced trans fats in 2003.

The six strategies World Health Organization has proposed include a review of dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats, the promotion of alternative healthier oils and fats, legislation and regulatory actions to curb trans fats, assessment of trans fats consumption in populations, creation of awareness about the risks of transfats and enforcement of policies and regulations. Gram for gram, trans fats appear to increase risk of CHD more than saturated fats.

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The WHO is now pushing middle- and lower-income countries to pick up the fight, said Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

"Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed", President of Resolve to Save Lives Tom Frieden said.

They're also found naturally in some meats such as beef and mutton, as well as in dairy products.

"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" asked Dr Tedros.

Switzerland, Britain, Canada, and the USA have all already moved to ban trans fats, and Thailand is expected to make a similar decree in the next month, according to the New York Times. Unlike "good" unsaturated fats, trans fats have been shown to up your LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower your HDL (good cholesterol).

Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policymakers, producers, suppliers, and the public.

This article was originally published by Business Insider. Food companies know these fats are "easily replaceable", he argues in an interview today with CNN: "Only your heart will know the difference - and that's why the call of the initiative to become trans fat-free by 2023 is so very important".

It's also important to note here that Australian manufacturers are not required to declare TFAs on food labels, however, it is compulsory if the manufacturer makes a nutrition content claim about cholesterol or saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids.