World Health Organization urges ban on industrial trans-fats by 2023

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According to estimates compiled by World Health Organization, the consumption of trans fats leads to over 500,000 deaths due to severe heart ailments. The WHO announced a new plan to phase out trans fats from the food supply.

Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and have for decades been present in snack foods, baked foods and fried foods. They are often present in frying oils, fried snacks, margarine and shortening since trans fat-based oils have a longer shelf life (don't worry, Canada has almost phased them out entirely in those products).

Prof. Ronit Endevelt, head of the Health Ministry's nutrition department, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that most food companies here have replaced artificial trans fats with safer alternatives, such as unsaturated fatty acids fats, rather than hydrogenated oils that become solid when exposed to a hydrogen gas. Seemingly though, medical experts are of the view that healthier product substitutes that will not affect the food tastes or costs can be effectively utilized in their place.

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Endevelt said trans fats may still be found here in pastries and other baked goods in small bakeries or in popcorn.

The call to eliminate trans fats follows from the WHO's updated guidelines on fat - already being contested by experts - that were released on May 4.

In some places, partially hydrogenated oils have already been banned, cutting off one of the main sources of commercially produced trans fats from their food supply, according to the World Health Organization via Reuters.

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REPLACE urges countries to assess and monitor trans fats consumption, establish laws to stamp out trans fats and raises awareness of their risk. Many dairy and meat products contain trans fats that have also been linked to heart disease.

Action is needed in low and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially-produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world, the WHO statement said. This is because they're used in partially-hydrogenated oils, which were first used as a butter replacement and then later as a replacement for foods containing saturated fatty acids.

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.

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The United States Food and Drug Administration reports that as many as 7,000 fatalities and 20,000 heart attacks can be prevented by the reduction of trans fats in the American diet.

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