World Health Organization calls for removal of trans fat in food supply by 2023

The World Health Organization is calling for a ban on trans fats, the organization announced earlier this week. The UN body estimates every year, trans fat intake leads to the deaths from cardiovascular disease of more than 500,000 people around the world.

The fats are generally considered by doctors to be bad for your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic. Denmark did it 15 years ago, and since then the United States and more than 40 other higher-income countries have been working on getting the heart-clogging additives out of their food supplies.

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).

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

"Trans fats are a harmful compound that can be removed easily without major cost and without any impact on the quality of the foods", Branca said. In India, that number is pegged at about 60,000 deaths, said Tom Frieden, former Head of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention told Business Line, speaking from Geneva.

"The world is now setting its sights on today's leading killers — particularly heart disease, which kills more people than any other cause in nearly every country", said Frieden, who is president of a New-York-based philanthropy-funded project called Resolve to Save Lives. The U.S. now has a ban in place going into effect next month.

Trans fats increase the levels of LDL-cholesterol, a well-accepted biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk, and decreases levels of HDL-cholesterol, which carry away cholesterol from arteries and transport it to the liver, that secretes it into the bile. Food manufacturers need to reformulate products to contain close to zero trans fats.

Dr. Tom Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, has declared that NY has become the first state in the US that has followed the footsteps of Denmark by eliminating trans-fats a decade ago. She advised that consumers read food labels.

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.

Quartz: How trans fat fell from grace to become a foodie villain (Purdy, 5/14). FDA officials have not said how much progress has been made or how they will enforce their rule against food makers that don't comply.

Dr M.S.S. Mukharjee, senior cardiologist, said, "Trans fats are produced when oil is repeatedly heated".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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