Sunday January 29, 2023

PMA concerned over WHO’s report on trans-fat intake

By Our Correspondent
January 26, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) is very much concerned over the WHO’s recent report, which says currently, Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans-fat intake and the country has not adopted best-practice policy to eliminate trans-fat.

According to a press release issued on Wednesday, PMA (Centre) Hon. Secretary General Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro said for public awareness, it needed to be highlighted that 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, which are partially hydrogenated oils.

Hydrogenated oil is a type of fat that food manufacturers use to keep foods fresher for longer. Hydrogenation is a process where manufacturers add hydrogen to a liquid fat, such as vegetable oil, to turn it into a solid fat at room temperature. Hydrogenated oil has a number of potential side effects that can negatively affect a person’s health. It increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and type-2 diabetes. Trans-fats also have an unhealthy effect on cholesterol levels.

WHO first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans-fat in 2018 - with an elimination target set for 2023. According to WHO guideline there are two best-practice policy alternatives. Firstly, mandatory national limit of 2 grams of industrially produced trans-fat per 100 grams of total fat in all foods. Secondly, mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils (a major source of trans fat) as an ingredient in all foods.

The PMA demands the government implement best-practice policy, as per WHO guideline, for the elimination of trans-fat to protect the health of the people of Pakistan. PMA also suggest people not to consume trans-fat foods which include, commercial baked goods, such as cakes, cookies and pies, shortening, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, such as biscuits and rolls, Fried food including French fries, doughnuts and fried chicken, Nondairy coffee creamer, stick margarine.