WHO: 3.7 billion people are already protected from trans fats

ВОЗ: уже 3,7 млрд человек защищены от трансжиров

Trans fats are found in many industrially produced products: various kinds of semi-finished products, some types of vegetable oil, and confectionery products. WHO: 3.7 billion people are already protected from trans fats Health

Today, 53 countries have adopted best policies to combat industrial trans fats, helping 3.7 billion people, or 46 percent of the world’s population, buy better food. Experts from the World Health Organization reported this after analyzing data for 2023. 

As the WHO notes, this is significant progress compared to the 2018 figure, which was only six percent of the world’s population, or less than half a billion people.

“Eliminating trans fats is achievable, affordable, it saves lives, and WHO remains committed to supporting countries towards this goal,” said Francesco Branca, Director of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.

Trans fats, or trans fatty acids, which can be found in many fried foods, baked goods, vegetable shortening and margarine, clog arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and death. According to the health agency, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and more than 278,000 deaths per year can be attributed to the consumption of industrial trans fats.

Given their negative health impacts, current advances could save about 183,000 lives per year. However, progress is uneven, the WHO notes: more than four billion people worldwide remain unprotected from these toxic substances. Residents of African and Western Pacific countries suffer the most from diseases associated with the consumption of trans fats. 

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In 2023, new measures came into force in seven countries: Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, North Macedonia, the Philippines, Moldova and Ukraine.

In January 2024, the WHO issued validation certificates to five countries for their progress in eliminating industrial trans fats: Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

If best practices were implemented in eight more countries, it could eliminate 90 percent of global deaths attributed to this harmful ingredient.

New WHO report makes recommendations for global eliminating trans fats, and calling on all countries to adopt appropriate policies. WHO is also calling on food manufacturers to stop using trans fats in their product lines and supply chains, even if regulations have not yet been adopted.


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