Eliminating industrial trans fats (or TFAs) widely used in industrial foods and whose excess consumption is generally unhealthy is the objective of the new campaign of the WHO, unveiled yesterday.
These industrial trans fats are responsible for more than 500,000 cardiovascular deaths each year according to the WHO.
A diet high in trans fatty acids increases the risk of death by 28%
Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids with at least one double bond in the “trans” position unlike unsaturated fatty acids synthesized by the body with double bonds in the “cis” position.
Industrial trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels, which is a recognized biological marker of cardiovascular disease risk, and reduce HDL cholesterol levels, which bring cholesterol from the arteries back to the liver where it is excreted in bile.
According to the WHO, the diets high in trans fatty acids increase the risk of heart disease by 21% and the risk of death by 28%. Accordingly, the organization estimates that more than 500,000 people die each year as a result of the trans fatty acids consumption.
WHO (World Health Organization) calls on governments to eliminate industrial trans fats (TFAs) from peoples diets
TFAs are mainly found in partially hydrogenated oils introduced into the diet at the beginning of the 20th century to replace butter.
Their use allows greases to pass from the liquid state to the solid state which facilitates their use and their storage and makes them less sensitive to oxidation.
TFAs gained popularity from the 1950s to the 1970s when the negative health consequences of saturated fatty acids were discovered. Widely used for their conservative and stabilizing properties, they are most often found in processed foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as some margarine, industrial pastries cakes and cookies, salty snacks, and instant soups.
Rich countries have made progress in banning industrial trans fats but we need to expand these efforts globally, according to the director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He also added that reducing their use would be beneficial to reduce deaths tolls related to non-transmissible diseases by one-third by 2030.