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.
- 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.