The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on all nations to rid foods of artificial trans fats in the next five years. The United Nations agency has in the past pushed to exterminate infectious diseases but now it is aiming to erase a hazard linked to chronic illness.
Artificial trans fats are unhealthy substances that are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, as in the creation of margarine or shortening (butter or fat used to make pastry). Health experts say trans fats can be replaced with canola oil or other products.
There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products. The WHO recommends that not more than 1% of a person’s calorie intake should come from trans fats.
The director of the WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, Dr Francesco Branca, said: “Trans fats are harmful compound that can be removed easily without major cost and without any impact on the quality of the foods.”
Studies gradually revealed that trans fats wreck cholesterol levels in the blood and drive up the risk of heart disease. Health advocates say trans fats are the most harmful fats in the food supply, and say they play a big role in more than 500,000 deaths around the world each year.