The World Health Organization wants to wipe out all traces of trans fats from the world and they're hoping everyone will join the fight.
The harmful effects of trans fats are getting to be too much for WHO and they've set up an ambitious goal: a trans fat-less world.
To help usher in a new age of eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply, the organization released a new step-by-step initiative dubbed REPLACE on Monday, May 14.
The Problem About Trans Fats
Industrially produced or artificial trans fats are made by making liquid vegetable oils more solid, according to American Heart Association.
It's inexpensive, easy to use, and has an abnormally long shelf life, which is why a lot of companies use it. Trans fats are often used in baked goods and fried food.
Unfortunately, the harmful effects of trans fats far outweigh its benefits. Trans fats have been shown to raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
WHO estimates that trans fat intake leads to 500,000 cardiovascular disease deaths every year.
WHO Takes Action
To address the dangers of trans fats, WHO launched REPLACE, a six-pronged action plan for governments to scrap industrially produced trans fat from their national food supply.
The REPLACE plan stands for reviewing dietary sources, promoting healthier trans fats replacements, legislation, assessing trans fats content and changes, creating awareness, and enforcement.
"WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, explains in a statement. "Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease."
Banning Trans Fats
Denmark already restricted industrially produced trans fats 15 years ago, followed by other high-income countries and even New York City over a decade ago in the United States.
With REPLACE strategy, WHO is hoping low- and middle-income countries will follow suit, especially since control of trans fats in these nations are usually weaker.
"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," says Michael R. Bloomberg, a three-term mayor of New York and WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases.
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