World Health Organization is urging countries around the world to get rid of trans fats from their food supply
WHO's REPLACE Plan
On Monday, May 14, WHO called on governments around the world to use its step-by-step action plan, REPLACE, and eliminate trans fats from the global food supply by 2023.
REPLACE is a six-point strategy that persuades governments to assess and monitor the consumption of trans fat, substitute it with healthier alternatives to impose laws to ban trans fat if necessary, and raise awareness about the health risks associated with the consumption of the artery-clogging ingredient.
What Are Trans Fats?
Trans fat is a type of unsaturated fat that is often found in foods in two types: naturally occurring and artificial. While some meat and dairy products contain small quantities of naturally occurring trans fat, artificial trans fats are created through an industrial process by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, which allows the oil to become solid at room temperature.
The hydrogenated oil remains unspoiled for a long period of time, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Food manufacturers also use trans fats to enhance the taste and texture of their products.
Moreover, several restaurants use this processed vegetable oil in their deep fryers as it does not require to be changed as frequently as other oils.
Why Are Trans Fats Harmful?
Trans fat is considered by many doctors as the worst type of fat one can consume. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat is capable of clogging one's arteries and increases one's risk of heart disease.
Not only does trans fat raise a person's LDL or bad cholesterol level, it also lowers their HDL or good cholesterol. According to WHO, trans fats are responsible for killing half a million people around the world every year.
Which Foods To Avoid?
Trans fats can be found in a wide variety of food products, including fried food such as french fries, doughnuts, and fried chicken. Baked foods like cakes, cookies, biscuits, pie crusts, biscuits, and crackers are also rich in trans fats as they are made with hydrogenated vegetable oils. Other food items that one must avoid are breakfast sandwiches, frozen pizza crusts, margarine, and microwave popcorn.
One can determine the amounts of trans fats by looking up out the nutrition facts label in particular packed products. Consumers can also check the amounts of trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for "partially hydrogenated oils" as an ingredient.