What are trans fats and how to reduce its consumption?

What are trans fats and how to reduce its consumption?

Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat that formed during hydrogenation, a process in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to form a solid product. Saturated fats, which have more desirable physical properties and extend the shelf-life of food that make the food cheaper are industrially used in food production.

Consuming trans fats has been shown to increase the risk of coronary artery disease in part by raising levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, often termed “bad cholesterol”), lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, often termed “good cholesterol”), increasing triglycerides in the bloodstream and promoting systemic inflammation. Studies also have linked consumption of trans fats to heart disease, metabolic disorder, obesity, diabetes, etc.

The medics believe if eliminate the industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply that are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods in cafes and restaurants, then, in a few years, it would decrease dramatically the deaths of people from cardiovascular disease. Positive results will be shown in three years. It is evidenced by many years’ observation and analysis of people’s health in countries where such bans have already been legally imposed.

The World Health Organization considers all trans fats equally harmful for health and recommends that their consumption be reduced to trace amounts and that trans fats make up no more than 0.9% of a person’s diet.

These days in Ashgabat, experts from the WHO Regional Office for Europe are conducting a Seminar On Measurement Trans-Fatty Acids for staff of the Center of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan, as well as for representatives of profile organizations from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Latvia and other countries.

Experts Carla Motta, the National Institutes of Health, Portugal, and Bryan Gonzales, Ghent University, Belgium, told the participants about the sources of trans-fatty acids in a person’s diet, methods to determine their structure, as well as the rules for sampling food products for laboratory research.

Saturated fats in trans-fatty acids that contained in our food have a negative effect on our body. It can lead to the cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other health problems, ” Dr. Carla Motta said. “Last year, at this Center, we conducted a laboratory study of 125 food products produced in Turkmenistan for trans fats. The research results are published at the WHO official website. And now we share experience with specialists from other countries.”

According to the expert, in future, they are planning to develope a single laboratory protocol so that each country can achieve the same results in this issue. Eliminating the use of trans fats is one of the main tasks of the World Health Organization.

“To completely eliminate industrially-produced trans fats, a country should adopt a law or restrictions that legally impose limits on the amount of trans fats that can be contained in packaged food. For example, a margarine,” Dr Motta said.

In addition to the theory, in the laboratory, participants were able to familiarize themselves with methods for determining the fat content in a food.