Our food system is responsible for more than two billion people being overweight or obese. These numbers are accompanied by a ballooning epidemic of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers. 600 million people live in countries where policy does not protect them against consumption of trans-fats.
“This kind of reformulation is essential to bend the curve on non-communicable diseases (NCD) prevalence,” said Dr. Sudhvir Singh, EAT’s Director of Policy. “In many ways it can be considered as groundbreaking as an environmental agreement towards a planetary boundary target. EAT is proud to celebrate the initiation of this project by our good friend and EAT-Lancet Commissioner Dr. Francesco Branca, under the leadership of Dr. Tedros, and with great partners like Resolve to Save Lives and Bloomberg.”
The REPLACE action package showcases examples and strategies from countries who have successfully cut trans-fat from their food supplies, and provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from food:
- Review dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.
- Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.
- Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
- Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.
- Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.
- Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.
There are two main sources for trans fats: natural sources (in the dairy products and meat of ruminants such as cows and sheep) and industrially-produced sources (partially hydrogenated oils). Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter. They are primarily used for deep frying, as an ingredient in baked goods. Industrially produced trans-fats clog arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack, and are a leading cause of heart disease.