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UN health agency's ambitious plan to eliminate trans fats from food

15 May 2018

"People in disadvantaged groups consume more, contributing to the extra burden of disease in disadvantaged families", he said.

It can be hard to change some of the behaviours that lead to those deaths - but that doesn't stop researchers from trying to get people to exercise and eat more vegetables. South Africa has also recently enacted strong legislation against the use of trans fats.

A diet high in trans fats, including fried and bakery products, is estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths every year from cardiovascular disease.

"WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply,"said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus".

Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development says "Trans fat are a harmful compound that can be removed easily without major cost and without any impact on the quality of the foods".

Multinational companies that make trans fats and have used them as ingredients said they have largely eliminated those oils from foods in the United States, parts of Europe and Canada, where governments already restrict their use.

Frieden told reporters that New York City's success in banning trans fats from restaurants a decade ago proved that they "can be eliminated without changing the taste, availability or cost of great food".

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World Health Organization noted in a press release that controls against trans fats are weaker in low and middle income countries. According to the British Dietetic Association: "Trans fats, like most saturated fats, raise blood cholesterol levels, particularly levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol". They are also associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers starting suggesting these fats might be unsafe based on signs of their accumulation in autopsies in the late 1950s. But trans fats remain widely used where regulators and food makers have been slower to take action. This is why a ban on trans fats can make a very big difference for worldwide health. In 2003, a Danish law that limited the amounts of these fats in food was passed.

The WHO notes that the communities with trans fats bans have seen a corresponding decline in cardiovascular-disease deaths, and that adoption of its six-step program can wipe the problem out around the world.

Other European countries followed Denmark's lead. In fact, nutritionists recommend that trans fat should make up just 1 percent of your overall diet, while others say that it shouldn't be present in your diet at all.

The prompted all kinds of "Nanny Bloomberg" headlines referencing the mayor at the time.

On April 3, British Medical Journal published a study from the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

Artificial trans fats are formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to harden. A misconception that the products were healthier than butter or lard led to surge in popularity that peaked in 1950s, but studies gradually revealed a link between trans fats and risky cholesterol levels in the blood.

UN health agency's ambitious plan to eliminate trans fats from food