What are trans fats?
When liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated, a process that transforms them into solid fats, trans fats are created as a type of unsaturated fat. Trans fats have a long shelf life and are less prone to expire than other fats, hence they are frequently used in processed foods like crackers, cookies, and snack foods. Trans fat consumption, however, has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease and other illnesses. People should try to reduce their intake of trans fats, according to The World Health Organization and other medical organisations. The use of partly hydrogenated oils in the manufacturing of food has been outlawed in some nations.
Unsaturated fats called trans fats, commonly referred to as trans fatty acids, are created when liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated. Due to their extended shelf lives and low likelihood of spoilage, solid fats are frequently used in processed goods like crackers, biscuits, and snack foods. This procedure transforms the oils into solid fats. Trans fats have been connected to an increased risk of heart disease and other health issues, despite their convenience in food preparation. In this post, we’ll talk about the risks of consuming trans fats, how they’re made, and what you can do to reduce your intake.
Although some animal-based foods, such meat and dairy products, naturally contain trace levels of trans fats, the majority of the trans fats in our diet originate from partly hydrogenated oils. Because they lengthen the food’s shelf life and improve its stability, these oils are frequently utilised in processed foods. They are also more affordable than other kinds of oils, which makes them a desirable choice for food producers.
Trans fats are a problem because research has shown that they raise the risk of heart disease. According to studies, eating a lot of trans fats might increase your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol, or HDL. This may result in the arteries accumulating plaque, which raises the danger of heart disease and stroke. Trans fats have been related to a number of other health issues, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and inflammation, in addition to heart disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical associations advise consumers to consume as little trans fat as feasible. The American Heart Association (AHA) advises consuming trans fats in moderation—no more than 1% of daily calories. This means that no more than 20 calories, out of 2,000 total calories, should come from trans fats.
It’s crucial to check the nutrition labels on the items you purchase if you want to keep your trans fat intake under control. Partially hydrogenated oils are included as an ingredient in products that contain them. Additionally, since processed foods are frequently heavy in trans fats, it’s crucial to restrict your intake of them. Choose entire foods instead, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
Some nations have recently taken action to restrict the use of partly hydrogenated oils in the manufacture of food. For instance, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared partly hydrogenated oils to be unsafe for ingestion in 2018. Therefore, food producers must either eliminate the trans fats from their goods or provide evidence that they are safe for consumption.
Partially hydrogenating liquid vegetable oils results in the formation of trans fats, a type of unsaturated fat. Because they have a long shelf life and are less likely to spoil, they are frequently utilised in processed meals. Trans fats have been connected to an increased risk of heart disease and other health issues, despite their convenience in food preparation.
It’s crucial to read nutrition labels, consume fewer processed meals, and choose whole foods to reduce your intake of trans fats. Additionally, some nations have prohibited the use of partially hydrogenated oils in food production, which is a positive move. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s critical to be aware of the amount of trans fats in our diet and to consciously choose to minimise our intake.
What The World Health Organization (WHO) warns
According to the WHO status report, several nations are still behind the 2023 deadline for implementing optimal manufacturing practises for the complete eradication of trans fats, which are to blame for up to 500,000 annual global premature deaths from coronary heart disease. India has absorbed top techniques.
According to a recent status report from the World Health Organization (WHO), five billion people worldwide are still unprotected against toxic trans fat, which raises their risk of heart disease and mortality.
Packaging, baked goods, cooking oils, and spreads frequently include industrially generated trans fat (also known as industrially produced trans-fatty acids). Up to 500 000 early deaths from coronary heart disease occur worldwide each year as a result of trans fat consumption.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, stated that trans fat has no recognised benefits and poses significant health hazards, which are extremely expensive for health systems. Contrarily, removing trans fat is affordable and has significant positive health effects. Simply said, trans fat is a poisonous substance that causes death and has no place in food. It’s time to permanently get rid of it.
Population coverage of best-practice policies has expanded about six-fold since WHO initially advocated for the global eradication of industrially produced trans-fat in 2018 with an elimination target set for 2023. At this point, 43 nations have put best-practice regulations against trans fat in food into place, protecting 2.8 billion people worldwide. According to the announcement, India is one of the top implementers among middle-income nations.
However, despite significant progress, this still exposes 5 billion people to the devasting health effects of trans fat, making the global target for its complete eradication in 2023 now unachievable.
There is currently no best-practice policy in place in nine of the 16 nations with the highest estimated percentage of coronary heart disease mortality attributed to trans fat consumption. They are the Republic of Korea, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Best practises in trans fat removal policies minimise industrially produced trans fat in all contexts and adhere to specified standards set forth by the WHO. The following are the two best-practice policy options: 2) A required national ban on the manufacturing or use of partially hydrogenated oils, a key source of trans fat, as an ingredient in all foods, and a mandatory national limit of 2 grammes of industrially produced trans fat per 100 grammes of total fat in all meals.
Dr. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, claims that trans fat continues to be fatal. He continued, “Progress toward reducing trans fat is in danger of coming to an end. Any nation may stop these preventable deaths by immediately implementing a best-practice policy. Despite the fact that trans fat is no longer a leading cause of death, governments still need to take steps to avert this tragic incident.
Although higher-income countries (primarily in the Americas and Europe) have implemented the majority of trans fat elimination regulations to date, more and more middle-income countries—including Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are also adopting or implementing these rules. In Mexico, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, best-practice regulations will also be up for discussion in 2023. If passed, Nigeria would become the second-largest African country to impose a trans fat ban. Best-practice trans fat ban laws have not yet been implemented in any low-income nations.
Adopting best-practice policies, monitoring and surveillance, healthy oil substitutes, and advocacy are the four areas on which WHO advises that nations concentrate. To assist nations in moving forward quickly in these areas, WHO guidance has been created.
The International Food and Beverage Alliance’s pledge to eradicate industrially produced trans fat from its products is supported by The World Health Organization. The world’s largest food manufacturers have been urged to stop using industrially manufactured trans fat in their products.
An annual status report, “Countdown to 2023 – WHO report on global trans fat elimination 2022,” was released by WHO in partnership with Resolve to Save Lives to track progress toward the objective of eliminating trans fats by 2023.