WHO releases REPLACE guide to eliminate trans-fatty acids from food by 2023

May 17, 2018 08:14 IST
WHO releases REPLACE guide to eliminate trans-fatty acids from food by 2023

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 15, 2018 released REPLACE, a guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023.

As per WHO, every year, trans fat intake leads to more than 500000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats

  • Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in vegetable fats like margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods.
  • Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats.
  • There are two main sources for trans fats - natural sources such as dairy products and meat of ruminants such as cows and sheep; and industrially-produced sources such as partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Unfortunately, trans fats increase the levels of LDL-cholesterol, a biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk and decrease the levels of HDL-cholesterol, which carry away cholesterol from arteries and transport it to the liver, that secretes it into the bile.
  • Diets high in trans fat increase heart disease risk by 21 percent and deaths by 28 percent.
  • These trans fats can be replaced by healthier alternatives that do not affect taste or cost of food.
  • The total trans fat intake should be limited to less than 1 percent of total energy intake, which amounts to less than 2.2 g/day with a 2000-calorie diet.

REPLACE: Six strategic actions

REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure complete and sustained elimination of trans fats from the food supply.

What does REPLACE stand for?

  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats.
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
  • Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply.
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats.
  • Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

The successful implementation of these six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help in achieving the elimination of trans fat, thus, combating the cardiovascular disease.

Other key highlights

• Some countries have already implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fats.

• Several high-income countries have almost eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legal measures.

• Denmark was the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats.

• Among cities, the New York City eliminated industrially-produced trans fats a decade ago.

• Action is now needed in low- and middle-income countries to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world.

WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work

• WHO has identified elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from food as one of the priority targets of its draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of WHO in 2019 - 2023.

• GPW13 is on the agenda of the 71st World Health Assembly that will be held in Geneva during May 21-26, 2018.


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