‘Trans fat intake: WHO warning to India’
Science & Technology
22nd Sep, 2020
Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat.
What are trans fats?
- Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat.
- They come in both natural and artificial forms.
- Natural, or ruminant, trans fats occur in the meat and dairy from ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. They form naturally when bacteria in these animals’ stomachs digest grass.
- Fifteen countries, including India, account for approximately two-thirds of the worldwide deaths linked to trans-fat intake.
- Of these, four countries -- Canada, Latvia, Slovenia, United States of America -- have implemented WHO-recommended best-practice policies since 2017, either by setting mandatory limits for industrially produced trans fats to 2% of oils and fats in all foods or banning partially hydrogenated oils (PHO).
- But the remaining 11 countries- Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, still need to take urgent action.
- WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake, which translates to less than 2.2 g/day with a 2,000-calorie diet.
- To achieve a world free of industrially produced trans fats by 2023, WHO recommends that countries:
- develop and implement best-practice policies to set mandatory limits for industrially produced trans fats to 2% of oils and fats in all foods or to ban partially hydrogenated oils (PHO);
- invest in monitoring mechanisms, e.g. lab capacity to measure and monitor trans fats in foods; and
- advocate for regional or sub-regional regulations to expand the benefits of trans fat policies.