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14 May 2018, 10:54 | Melissa Porter
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said eliminating trans fats from human diets would be "a global win in the fight against cardiovascular disease".
Last week, World Health Organization issued strict guidelines in relation to the amount of saturated fat that should be contained in a healthy diet.
Moreover, it's possible to eliminate trans fats without changing the flavor of food, so even if you haven't already been eating this way, you probably won't know the difference.
"Food makers liked artificial trans fats because they prolong product shelf life and enhance flavor". But the predominant source is industrially-produced and contained in baked and fried foods such as fries and doughnuts, snacks, and partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats often used by restaurants and street vendors.
Good substitutes for partially hydrogenated fats and saturated fats are liquid oils such as olive oil, canola oil and safflower. More than 20 nations have restricted the use of trans fats in the last 15 years, and major food manufacturers have practically eliminated the use of trans fats in their foods: Nestle has eliminated trans fats from 99.8% of the oils they use; members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance, which include Kellogg, General Mills, and McDonald's, have eliminated trans fats from 98.8% of their global product portfolios; and Mondelez International, the maker of Oreos, is on track to eliminate all partially hydrogenated oils from its products by the end of the year.
However, many countries, especially those in developing and underdeveloped areas, have not followed this trend.
Several high-income countries have reduced industrially produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food.
The strategy to eliminate trans fats, dubbed REPLACE, calls for a broad awareness and advocacy campaign as well as legislative action worldwide "to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats".
"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" "The world is now embarking on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, using it as a driver for improved access to healthy food and nutrition. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food", according to the news release announcing the initiative. "Numerous fats are in foods or oils made by local producers", Betsy McKay and Jacob Bunge write for the Wall Street Journal.
Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
As it so often happens, "REPLACE" is an acronym.
Artificial trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, develop when vegetable oil becomes hard in a process known as hydrogenation.
"World Health Organization is also using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations, including by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats." said Ghebreyesus.
Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.
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