The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is mounting a campaign to have dangerous man-made trans fats disqualified from use in all food products. The WHO reports that if successful, 500,000 lives will possibly be saved by the measure each year.
Dr. Tom Frieden, who once held the position as director of the United States Center for Disease Control, says that trans fats are a chemical toxin that has resulted in a great loss of life.
Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition professor at Harvard, explains that the decision on the part of the World Health Organization to back up the global elimination of trans fats is a big help in the fight and says that countries that take heed of the advice will see great improvements in the health of their populations.
Willett, who was an early voice in the fight against trans fats, further explains that the low cost of a full transition to much healthier fats when taken into account the immense payoff of the move should make the idea a no-brainer.
Trans fats produced by industrial means were first introduced into the United States food supply in the 1950’s and has resulted in an epidemic of heart disease. They are produced by using hydrogen as an additive to vegetable oil which causes liquid fats to become solid when kept at room temperature. These oils, which are referred to by the term partially hydrogenated, resulted in a decreased cost of processing foods while extending the shelf life of food products causing them to become popular as an ingredient with snack foods.
Scientists in the mid-90’s made the discovery that trans fats wreak havoc on an individual’s blood cholesterol levels. Not only do these fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood they also affect a decrease in good cholesterols.
Food manufacturers in America are expected by next month to have reworked their products so that the levels of trans fats contained in them are non-threatening.
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.
A study performed in New York City in 2016, showed that a ban on trans fats there affected a 5% reduction in deaths for cardiovascular reasons and provided savings of $3.9 million for every 100,000 citizens of the city.