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India to join a ‘select group of countries’ limiting industrial trans fat

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  • Published
    10th Feb, 2021


India is going join a select group of countries limiting industrial trans fat to 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product. India would thus be achieving the WHO target a year in advance.

What is trans fat?

  • Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat. They come in both natural and artificial forms.
  • However, most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.
  • This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life.
  • These hydrogenated fats are hazardous to health.
  • Consumption of trans fats can lead to a significant increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol without a corresponding rise in HDL (good) cholesterol.

Types of Cholesterol

There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad," cholesterol can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good," cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.

Trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.

India’s progress so far

  • In mid-2016, the trans fatcontent limit was halved from 10% to 5%.
  • In December 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) capped it to 3% by 2021.

Important facts

  • In 2004, Denmark became the first country to limit industrially produced trans fat content in all foods to 2% of fats and oils.
  • However, many countries have since adopted similar restrictions themselves.
  • According to a 2020 report of WHO, 32 countries already have some form of mandatory limits on trans fat.

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