The World Health Organization has discharged an arrangement to enable nations to wipe out trans fats from the worldwide nourishment supply, requiring their substitution by polyunsaturated fats.
In a release issued Monday, the UN health agency said eliminating trans fats is critical to preventing deaths worldwide. WHO estimates that eating trans fats leads to the deaths of more than 500,000 people from heart disease every year.
Several countries including Denmark have already virtually eliminated trans fats by introducing legal limits on the industrially-produced oils.
Trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products. But the predominant source is industrially-produced and contained in baked and fried foods such as fries and doughnuts, snacks, and partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats often used by restaurants and street vendors.
In explicit new advice, WHO has said that excessive amounts of saturated fat and trans fat should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, canola and olive oils.
Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called trans fats “an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills,” noting that New York got rid of it a decade ago.
WHO says total fat consumption should not exceed 30 percent of total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain.