Trans fatty acids: 5 billion people are not protected from their harms, warns the WHO

While 43 countries now apply the practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate trans fatty acids in food, the WHO estimates that 5 billion people on Earth are still too exposed to these harmful substances.

Lamenting that “the global goal of the complete elimination of these compounds by 2023 is not not possible at the moment”, WHO recalls that trans fatty acids are a type of fatty acid found in many industrial food products: gcakes, biscuits, cooking oils, spreads… Result: each year in the world, no less than 500,000 premature deaths are attributable to the consumption of trans fatty acids, leading to coronary heart disease.

Trans fatty acids have no no known benefit and pose enormous health risks that lead to enormous costs for health systems,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement (Source 1). “In contrast, eliminating trans fatty acids is a cost-effective measure that has immense health benefits. To put it simply, trans fatty acids are a toxic chemical that kills and which should not be in food. It’s time to get rid of it once and for all“, he added.

The worst performers in reducing the use of trans fatty acids are currently Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea, WHO list. They constitute 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated rate of coronary heart disease deaths from trans fatty acid consumption, and which do not have policies in line with WHO recommendations.

If it is aimed primarily at government authorities, the WHO also encourages food manufacturers to eliminate from their products industrially produced trans fatty acids, which are easily replaceable.

On a daily basis, consumers can already reduce their consumption on an individual basis, andn scanning labels for partially hydrogenated oil or saturated fatty acids, which should be avoided as much as possible. It is better to give preference to food products where the fatty acids unsaturated (also called polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) are present in greater proportion.

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