WHO Calls for Worldwide Elimination of Trans Fats by 2023

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The step by step plan that WHO has just unveiled could spell a big difference in the world's health by that time, as the agency estimates that getting rid of trans fat would prevent 500,000 deaths per year from diseases linked to cholesterol and cardiovascular conditions.

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. The country has witnessed improvement in the citizens' health and a reduction in deaths by way of cardiovascular disease. They are often present in frying oils, fried snacks, margarine and shortening since trans fat-based oils have a longer shelf life (don't worry, Canada has almost phased them out entirely in those products). They insist that healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food and would represent a major victory in the global fight against heart disease.

Nutritionist Sujatha Stephen said, "We used to have only saturated and unsaturated fats but nowadays because of the advent of the western foods the use of trans fats is increasing".

Trans fats should be less than 1 per cent of the total count (less than 2.2gm per day in a 2,000 calorie); both fats must be replaced by polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fat.

There are some naturally occurring trans fats in some foods made from animals-like dairy and meat-but the artificial trans fats are the ones the World Health Organization is calling for a ban on.

Due to its longer shelf life and other characteristics, hydrogenated oil is commonly added to baked goods, snacks, deep-fried fare and cold pastries, and dough, like frozen pizza and cinnamon rolls. "In South Asian countries, they have very, very high risk of heart disease and high intakes of trans fats", Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the Nutrition for Health Department at the WHO, emphasized in his statement.

But studies gradually revealed that trans fats wreck cholesterol levels in the blood and drive up the risk of heart disease. In addition, there are indications that trans fat may increase inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.

For the record, products such as ghee and margarine contain industrially-manufactured fats, which are found in fried and baked foods.

Action is needed in low- and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world, Ghebreyesus said.

As per sources, numerous developed nations have already removed trans-fats from the food supply, imposing legal restrictions on packaged food.

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