WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "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".
WHO aims to eliminate the use of trans fats world wide by 2023 and released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.
Trans fats are found in products manufacturers want to give a longer shelf life. "World Health Organization 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". But healthier alternatives, which are generally more expensive, can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food. Our daily intake of calories trans fats should be less than 2 per cent.
Artificial trans fats are unhealthy substances that are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, like in the creation of margarine or shortening. Trans fatty foods became increasingly popular beginning in the 1950s, partly because experts at the time thought they were healthier than cooking with butter or lard.
Yan Zong-hai (顏宗海), director of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Clinical Toxins Department, said that in addition to cardiovascular disease, worldwide studies show that artificial trans fats can also cause obesity, as well as increasing the risk of fatty liver and Alzheimer's disease.
It increases the risk of heart disease by 21 per cent and death by 28 per cent.
Replacing trans fats with unsaturated fatty acids decreases the risk of heart disease, in part, by ameliorating the negative effects of trans fats on blood lipids.
"A comprehensive approach to tobacco control allowed us to make more progress globally over the last decade than nearly anyone thought possible", he said, "Now, a similar approach to trans fat can help us make that kind of progress against cardiovascular disease, another of the world's leading causes of preventable death".
For many years, trans fats were in baked goods of all kinds, such as burekas, doughnuts, cookies and crackers; ice cream; frostings; processed meat; nondairy coffee whiteners; commercially fried products, including those made from meats and poultry; and many other types of foods in Israel. "In addition, there are indications that trans fat may increase inflammation and endothelial dysfunction".