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created Apr 12th 2019, 11:56 by Guru Khare



408 words
19 completed
The use of artificial 'trans fat' in edible oils imperils health. New WHO guidelines advocate for a return to better-known, traditionally used alternatives.On 14 May, the World Health Organisation called on all countries to make the world free of trans fats by 2023. A number of countries have already accomplished this, including a range of middle and lower income countries worldwide that have heavily restricted or eliminated trans fats altogether.They do so with good reason. Industrially produced trans fats are artificial compounds formed by 'partial hydrogenation of edible oils' that are harmful when consumed, even at low levels. In the South-East Asia Region, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils  are the primary source of trans fats in food items.Commercial food production, particularly with regard to bakery products such as biscuits and pastries, uses high amounts of PHVOs, thus increasing the risk of trans fat consumption. Changing food patterns and the popularity of processed foods is likely to increase trans fat intake. Likewise, high levels of trans fat have also been found elsewhere, especially in food produced by informal vendors. Trans fats dramatically increase the risk of heart attack.
Replacing oils containing high trans fats with healthier options will have no impact on the taste or availability of food, and will dramatically advance health and wellbeing. It will also help achieve WHO South-East Asia's regional target and Flagship Priority of reducing noncommunicable diseases by one-fourth by 2025, and then by one-third by 2030, as per the Sustainable Development Goal targets. Mustard, sunflower, rapeseed, ground nut, and soya based oils are all healthier alternatives. These crops are valuable, efficient and in high demand. Importantly, the increased growth, production and use of these crops will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and align the region with the global drive to restrict trans fats and save millions of lives at virtually no cost to government or consumers.To that end, WHO’s six step REPLACE action package - launched last week in Geneva provides all countries with proven tools to completely eliminate trans fats from their national food supply and counter increasingly changing food patterns. At present, 90% of people around the world about 6.5 billion are exposed to these artery clogging substances, with little to no government support or alternatives offerred. WHO's REPLACE package aims to accelerate restrictions on trans fat products via an easy six step process. Each of these steps can be readily embraced, implemented and enforced, with game changing effect.

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