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‘Trans fat intake: WHO warning to India’

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2020

Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat.

Context

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.

The Report

  • 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 Recommendations:

  • 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.
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