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Call for ban on industrial food fats

Friday April 16th, 2010

Dangerous industrially produced fats should be banned to help cut heart disease rates, experts said today.

The target is trans fats - which are used commercially in margarine, biscuits and cakes.

According to an article in the British Medical Journal, they increase levels of unhealthy cholesterol - low density lipoprotein - in the blood and reduce levels of healthy cholesterol - high density lipoprotein.

In Britain experts said progress had been made in reducing trans fats - but called for more.

The British Heart Foundation said less than two per cent of energy intake in food now comes from trans fats.

Dietician Victoria Taylor said: "This editorial highlights just how important it is for us to keep industrially produced trans fats out of our diets to help keep our hearts healthy.

"Whilst legislation has been used in other countries to remove trans fats from people's diets, in the UK voluntary measures by the food industry have already achieved significant reductions in the amount of trans fat in our diets. On average, we now consume less than the recommended maximum of two per cent of total food energy from trans fats."

She added: "This is good progress but we still need to do more to make sure that the industrially produced trans fats don't creep back into our nation's diets.

"We can only do this by continuing to track carefully how much we are eating, and setting clear targets for food manufacturers to achieve."

In the BMJ Dariush Mozaffarian, of Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, says bans have successfully been introduced in Denmark and New York City.

He writes: "Removing industrial trans fats is one of the most straightforward public health strategies for rapid improvements in health.

"Based on current disease rates, a strategy to reduce consumption of trans fats by even one per cent of total energy intake would be expected to prevent 11,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths annually in England alone."

British Medical Journal on-line April 16 2010

Tags: Diet & Food | Europe | Heart Health | North America | UK News

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