trans fats workplace wellness

New Effort to Remove Trans Fats from Global Food Supply

New ammunition has arrived for well-run workplace wellness programs aiming to help employees address obesity and chronic diseases: An attack on trans fats.

Just under three years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration announced plans for a “ban of artificial trans fat, which are linked to heart disease, from the food supply” by 2018, as Time reported. As CNN reported at the time: “Eating a diet rich in trans fat is linked to higher body weight, heart disease and memory loss. It has been shown to raise the “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in the United States.”

We noted a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that reports on results that already exist from New York. It’stitled “Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York.”

The findings: “There was an additional 6.2% decline in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction and stroke among populations living in counties with vs without trans-fatty acid restrictions. The decline in events reached statistical significance 3 or more years after restrictions were implemented.”

Now the World Health Organization has announced a plan to “eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from global food supply.”

WHO released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

The information can be useful for workplace wellness programs that seek new ways to inform and engage employees not only about trans fats dangers, but also ways to reduce them in one’s diet.

The organization writes that: “Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to  more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.”

“Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers  often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.”

Tomorrow: The specifics behind REPLACE