Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

World Health Organization wants trans fats in food eliminated

The WHO is the United Nations division to manage and deal with health problem issues around the world.h World Health Organization logo
Anna Jefferson | 16 May, 2018, 06:34

In a dramatic move that has only been reserved for saving the public from communicable diseases in the past, the World Health Organization has called for a world-wide ban on trans fats in the next five years. He further stated that implementing the six strategies in the REPLACE plan will help in eliminating the prevalence of trans-fat, thereby signifying a pivotal victory for WHO's initiative to combat cardiovascular ailments. In Denmark, the first country to ban trans fats from food products, the results have also been dramatic.

Artificial trans-fats, or trans fatty acids, better known to many American consumers as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, can be used in fried foods and to preserve shelf life of snack foods or baked goods.

Eliminating these fats is the "key to protecting health and saving lives", it said, in a statement.

Several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food.

Dr Ravi Shankar, senior gastroenterologist, said, "Trans fats are mainly found in fast foods and if they are consumed in higher quantities, they lead to premature death and accumulation of fats in one's blood vessels which can even lead to cerebral palsy".

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In the Indian context, the World Health Organization has termed ghee as a trans fat laden food, despite mounting evidence on the "good fat" in it. "Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods".

"Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed" to it, Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Los Angeles Times. Seemingly though, medical experts are of the view that healthier product substitutes that will not affect the food tastes or costs can be effectively utilized in their place.

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.

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is mounting a campaign to have unsafe man-made trans fats disqualified from use in all food products. Many dairy and meat products contain trans fats that have also been linked to heart disease.

It increases the risk of heart disease by 21 per cent and death by 28 per cent. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter.

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