WHO Calls for Elimination of Trans Fat by 2023

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On May 14, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced their plan to urge governments worldwide to eliminate the use of artificially produced trans fat by 2023. According to the WHO, artificially produced trans fats found in junk and fried foods contribute to more than 500,000 preventable deaths annually.

What is “trans fat” exactly?

Trans fat is vegetable fat that has been chemically altered by a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats boost low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) levels and can increase your risk of heart disease by 21 percent.

What does the WHO’s plan look like?

The WHO’s plan, REPLACE, is an action package that provides a step-by-step guide for eliminating trans fat from the global food supply. REPLACE supports governments to ensure the swift and complete removal of trans fats from foods.

REPLACE is a six-step action plan, with the action areas including:

  1. Review dietary sources of artificially produced trans fat and the landscape for policy change.
  2. Promote the replacement of unhealthy trans fats with healthier substitutes.
  3. Legislate or enact laws to eliminate artificially produced trans fat.
  4. Assess and monitor the amount of trans fat content in the food supply and consumed by the population.
  5. Create awareness of the negative effects of trans fat among lawmakers, businesses and the public.
  6. Enforce compliance with policies and regulations.

What can you do now to avoid eating and drinking trans fats?

The WHO’s campaign is in its early stages, which means it might take some time to see changes. In the meantime, you can read nutrition labels and look at the amount of saturated fat and trans fat per serving. It’s also important to check the ingredient list, which is different from the nutritional label.

To learn more about trans fats and their health effects, click here.