WHO Calls for Global Ban on Trans Fat

French fries are some of the products containing more trans-fat levels

The agency estimates that every year trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease. The WHO announced a new plan to phase out trans fats from the food supply.

The United States Food and Drug Administration set a three-year compliance period in July of 2015 that said companies either had to make their products without partially hydrogenated oils or petition to be allowed to use them. 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). 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.

Artificial trans fats are unhealthy substances that are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, like in the creation of margarine or shortening.

Endevelt said trans fats may still be found here in pastries and other baked goods in small bakeries or in popcorn.

Back in the 1970s, Dr. Willett was one of the first researchers to sound the alarm about trans fats, a stance that earned him scorn from the food industry and even fellow nutritionists. 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.

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Replacing trans fats with unsaturated fatty acids decreases the risk of heart disease, in part, by ameliorating the negative effects of trans fats on blood lipids.

However, as the World Health Organization pointed out in their suggestions, many high-income countries have been able to encourage companies to lower or eliminate their trans fat use, while low- to middle-income countries might not have the resources to instigate a ban.

In some places, partially hydrogenated oils have already been banned, cutting off one of the main sources of commercially produced trans fats from their food supply, according to the World Health Organization via Reuters.

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

Yan Zong-hai (顏宗海), director of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Clinical Toxins Department, said that in addition to cardiovascular disease, global studies show that artificial trans fats can also cause obesity, as well as increasing the risk of fatty liver and Alzheimer's disease. Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter. Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21 per cent and deaths by 28 per cent.

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