Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medical | By

WHO Calls for Global Ban on Trans Fat

WHO Calls for Global Ban on Trans Fat

Health advocates say trans fats are the most harmful fat in the food supply, and say they play a big role in more than 500,000 deaths around the world each year.

Eliminating these fats is the "key to protecting health and saving lives", it said, in a statement. World Health Organization estimates that eating trans fats - commonly found in baked and processed foods - leads to the deaths of more than 500,000 people from heart disease every year. 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. The determination from the FDA said that removing the trans fats "could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year". According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Denmark's cardiovascular disease deaths declined dramatically three years after policy was enforced.

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.

According to World Health Organization, artificial trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are made when vegetable oil hardens in a process called hydrogenation. Trans fatty foods became increasingly popular beginning in the 1950s, partly because experts at the time thought they were healthier than cooking with butter or lard.

Yan Zong-hai (顏宗海), director of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Clinical Toxins Department, said that in addition to cardiovascular disease, worldwide studies show that artificial trans fats can also cause obesity, as well as increasing the risk of fatty liver and Alzheimer's disease.


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.

REPLACE urges countries to assess and monitor trans fats consumption, establish laws to stamp out trans fats and raises awareness of their risk. Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21 per cent and deaths by 28 per cent.

Trans fats produced by industrial means were first introduced into the United States food supply in the 1950's and has resulted in an epidemic of heart disease.

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.

Several rich countries have already virtually eliminated trans fats by putting limits on the amounts allowed in packaged foods.

Like this: