The Word Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that trans fats need to be eliminated from the global food supply. This is because they are responsible for half a million deaths worldwide each year. Currently, the majority of western Europe has already acted to reduce industrially made trans fats from factory produced foods. Denmark and New York have also introduced an outright ban in food production. Large food corporations are facing significant pressure to act and use trans-fat substitutes instead.
A Need for Improvement
The latest UK national diet and nutrition survey shows the intake of trans fats is well below 0.5%-0.7%. Companies that produce processed food in the UK don’t use trans fats anymore. However they are still present in some cheap foods that are imported from elsewhere.
The WHO is urging all governments to issue laws or regulations that bans industrial fats from food processing. Doing so is said to have the potential to “represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease”.
How Much Am I Allowed to Eat?
Trans fats are also found in food products like milk, cheese and butter. However, the amount people eat in dairy isn’t likely to breach any health guidelines. Although the trans fats in dairy are the same as the industrial ones, those present in dairy are much less. The WHO is saying that trans fats should be limited to less than 15% of food energy, which is a maximum of 2.2g of trans fats in a diet of 2,000 calories per day.
In order to reach the maximum amount of trans fat, a person would need to consume 150g of 30% saturated fat cheese or 50g of butter. Essentially, eating a moderate amount of dairy within a balanced diet won’t be a risk to your health.
Although the removal of industrial trans fats is a positive step towards improving public health, there is still a risk that remains if saturated fats are used instead. Diets high in saturated fats are linked to increased cholesterol levels, as well as heart and circulatory diseases. In order for the public to fully benefit from this change, food manufacturers need to ensure that they are using healthy fat alternatives.