The World Health Org a n i s a t i o n (WHO) has released a plan to help countries wipe out trans fats from the global food supply in the next five years. To this end, countries may need to use legislation to compel food makers to trans fats from food.
Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and frying fast food starting in the 1950s.
Trans fat has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intakedependent way, with increased risk of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of death in Western and African nations.
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. Health experts said they could be replaced with canola oil or other products that are healthy.
There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products. According to the WHO, eliminating trans fats was critical to preventing deaths worldwide.
The Agency 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.
The Director of Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the WHO, Dr. Francesco Branca, said the WHO was pushing middle- and lowerincome countries to pick up the fight as the United States (US) and other 40 advanced countries have initiated such moves in their nations. “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.