World Health Organization leads push to universally ban trans fats

Representative image

Denmark was the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans-fats in 2004.

Unveiling the campaign in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged governments to act.

Officials think it can be done in five years because the work is well underway in many countries.

The WHO is pushing middle- and lower-income countries to pick up the fight, said Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

Willett, who was an early voice in the fight against trans fats, further explains that the low cost of a full transition to much healthier fats when taken into account the vast payoff of the move should make the idea a no-brainer. Health experts say they can be replaced with canola oil or other products.

The six-step guide, called REPLACE, comes after World Health Organization opened a consultation until 1 June to review draft guidelines on intake of trans-fats and saturated fats for adults and children.

"It is important to remember that, even with the actions by FDA and announcement by World Health Organization, there will always be naturally occurring trans fat in the diets that include meat and dairy products such as milk, butter and yogurt", the Grocery Manufacturer Association said.


In the USA, the first trans fatty food to hit the market was Crisco shortening, which went on sale in 1911. They became popular in the 1950s through 1970s with the discovery of the negative health impacts of saturated fatty acids.

Food makers liked artificial trans fats because they prolonged product shelf life. They used them in such fare as doughnuts, cookies and deep-fried foods.

"A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible", he said, "Now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death".

It is also the substance commonly associated with higher levels of "Bad" cholesterol in the blood, also known as LDL cholesterol, that tends to clump up in arteries and increase the risk of developing heart disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, has declared that NY has become the first state in the US that has followed the footsteps of Denmark by eliminating trans-fats a decade ago.

In 2015, the FDA determined that trans fats are not generally recognized as safe.

The WHO on Tuesday released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

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