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Doctors urge UK 'trans-fats' ban

16th April 2010

US public health experts have backed calls to bans trans-fats from all foods in the UK.

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Writing in the British Medical Journal, experts suggest that 7,000 deaths a year could be prevented by a 1% reduction in consumption.

Trans-fats are found in margarines, cakes and fast food but the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, turning oily foods into semi-solid foods can raise levels of bad cholesterol.

While extending the shelf-life of foods, they have no nutritional benefit and a small reduction in consumption can cut heart disease.

They have already been banned in some countries though the Food Standards Agency said the UK's low average consumption made a complete ban unnecessary.

The UK Faculty of Public Health called for the consumption of trans-fats to be virtually eliminated and this has now been backed in the BMJ article where doctors from Harvard Medical School said bans in Denmark and New York City had effectively eliminated trans-fats, without reducing food availability, taste, or affordability.

Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: "There are great differences in the amount of trans-fats consumed by different people and we are particularly concerned about young people and those with little disposable income who eat a lot of this type of food.

"This is a major health inequalities issue."

The British Heart Foundation said UK voluntary measures by the food industry had achieved “significant reductions in the amount of trans-fats in food” but more needed to be done to ensure industrially produced trans-fats did not “creep back into our nation’s diets.”

 

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