A diet that includes food with high levels of trans fat is one that raises the risk of heart disease, strokes, obesity and even some kinds of cancer. While some foods naturally contain trans fats, the most concerning, from a health standpoint, are industrially produced trans fats. For optimum health, trans fats should only be about 1% of the bodies energy intake. The process of partially hydrogenating oils to create artificial fats makes them a factor in developing blood clots, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular issues.
Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) released a program to eliminate these artificial trans fats from the global food supply. The program is called "REPLACE" for Review, Promote, Legislate, Assess, Create and Enforce and the goal is to end the use of fake fats that are associated with so many health problems. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated in a press release, "WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply. Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease."
The WHO points to Denmark, which was the first country to restrict the use of factory-made trans fats, and to New York City, who banned them in restaurants as two examples of legal intervention that could have the effect of saving thousands of lives. The REPLACE program is part of the 13th draft of the WHO's General Programme of Work (GPW13) The document will guide the work of the health agency through the year 2023, and the inclusion of a plan to reduce and or eliminate artificial trans fats is a first. In looking at the global health picture, the WHO must see beyond treating illness and injury toward education, awareness, and prevention. Keeping substances that compromise health out of the food supply is a critical part of that effort according to Dr. Tedros, who wrote, "Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods? The world is now embarking on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, using it as a driver for improved access to healthy food and nutrition. WHO is also using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations, including by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats." Check out the included video to learn more about this program.