Call to ban ‘killer’ trans fats in the UK

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  • Banning trans fats could save thousands of lives, if the UK followed the example of several other regions such as Denmark and New York...

    Banning trans fats from food in the UK would save thousands of lives and prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths every year, experts said today.

    They predicted that cutting overall consumption of trans fats in England by just 1% would lead to 11,000 fewer heart attacks each year and 7,000 fewer deaths.

    Trans fats – also known as trans fatty acids – are found in many cakes, pastries, pies, chips and fast foods. They are chemically altered vegetable oils which increase the shelf life of products but have no nutritional value.

    Experts from the Harvard Medical School suggested that the UK should follow the example of several other regions – Denmark, New York, California, Switzerland and Austria – in banning trans fats.

    Writing online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), they said trans fats raise levels of bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol, and are likely to promote weight gain, diabetes, insulin resistance and irregular heartbeat. Eating trans fats is linked to a ‘substantial risk of heart disease events’, including heart attacks and death from coronary disease, they added.

    ‘Removing industrial trans fatty acids is one of the most straightforward public health strategies for rapid improvements in health,’ they said.

    Britain’s Food Standards Agency takes the view that consumption of the ingredient is so low here it is not a problem.


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