Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

World Health Organization calls for elimination of trans fat in all foods by 2023

World Health Organization calls for elimination of trans fat in all foods by 2023

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

The step-by-step strategy is being called 'REPLACE'.

"The world is now setting its sights on today's leading killers - particularly heart disease, which kills more people than any other cause in nearly every country", said Frieden, president of Resolve to Save Lives, a New-York-based project of an organization called Vital Strategies.

That is Dr. Tom Frieden. Also, this is the first time the WHO, or any worldwide health organization, has proposed a ban on a dietary component.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) call to ban trans fats from the global food supply by 2023 has received support from the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA).

In the recent history of popular nutrition, trans fat has experienced perhaps the most meteoric rise and precipitous fall from grace of anything in our foods. This is an unprecedented move.

Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO's strategic plan, the draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of World Health Organization in 2019 - 2023.

In 2015, the FDA took steps to finish the job of eliminating trans fats, calling for manufacturers to stop selling trans fatty foods by June 18, 2018 - a deadline that arrives next month. "Manufactured TFAs (also known as artificial TFAs) are formed when liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated or "hardened" during processing". Numerous fats are in foods or oils made by local producers.

"Although trans fats extend the shelf life of food, we think the priority should be the length and health of human life". Meanwhile, the saturated fat-free substances that were created by the food industry by solidifying vegetable oils have now been proven to be highly problematic.

Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population. These products increase the levels of bad LDL-cholesterol (a sign of increased cardiovascular disease risk) and lower levels of good HDL-cholesterol. All of these effects of trans fats can raise your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

"Banning trans fats in New York City helped reduce the number of heart attacks without changing the taste or cost of food, and eliminating their use around the world can save millions of lives", Bloomberg said. Denmark, which was the first country to mandate restrictions on such trans fats, has already experienced a decline in cardiovascular deaths. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for food makers to stop using it by June 2018.

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

Though science has since caught up, it was thought in the 1950s and 1960s that saturated fats were the main cause of heart disease.

Now the WHO and governments around the world are cracking down. They include replacing trans fats with healthier oils such as olive oil, creating public awareness of the harms of trans fats, and enforcing anti-trans fat policies and laws.

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