Jamaica endorses resolution to eliminate trans-fatty acids
Jamaica has endorsed a resolution proposed by Costa Rica for the elimination of trans-fatty acids by 2025.
The resolution was proposed at the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Trans-fatty acids, also known as trans-fats, are formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening or transformed into unhealthy oils.
Jamaica's Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, said, it has been detrimental to public health and in particular, a contributor to cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of deaths in Jamaica.
In supporting the resolution, Tufton said, Jamaica is now well on its way towards the elimination of industrially produced trans-fatty acids.
He said local lab facilities have been upgraded to test for it and other nutrients and Jamaica has undertaken a study to determine the extent of its use.
Tufton said once the study is completed, the Government will engage in public consultation with a view to phasing out the use of trans-fatty acids.
Denmark was the first country to mandate the restriction of trans fat in 2004, and since then, other countries have prohibited the use of the ingredient.
They include: Norway, Iceland, Hungary, Austria and Switzerland.
New York City banned its use in restaurants in 2006 and Canada instituted a complete ban on industrial trans fat last month.
The World Health Organisation in May of last year released a step-by-step guide to eliminating industrially produced trans fat and noted that its elimination would represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease.
Why are Trans-fats dangerous?
Health authorities like the World Health Organisation have expressed major concern over the levels of trans-fats in the modern diet. Medical research has shown that trans-fats have a host of negative effects on health.
A 1994 Harvard University study found more than twice the risk of heart attacks among those who ate partially hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans-fat, compared with those who consumed little trans-fat.
10 ways trans-fats affect you:
1. Increase the levels of bad cholesterol and promote heart disease.
2. Increase the occurrence of several cancers.
3. Depress the body's immune system.
4. Decrease testosterone levels in men and increase abnormal sperm formation.
5. Interfere with fertility, pregnancy and promote low birth weight babies, and poor-quality breast milk.
6. Worsen diabetes, hypertension and obesity by increasing insulin resistance.
7. Displace healthy fats, e.g. the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils preventing them from performing their normal function.
8. Disturb liver function.
9. Several large studies in the United States and elsewhere also show a strong link between premature death and consumption of foods high in trans-fatty acids.
10. Promote circulatory disorders
1. Have a balanced diet, high in fruit, vegetables and healthy low-fat protein and reduce your intake of processed fast foods, fried foods, cookies, cakes and crackers.
2. Carefully read the labels of processed foods and avoid those containing mostly hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Cook primarily with olive oil, virgin coconut oil or canola oil.
3. Supplement your diet with fibre, healthy omega-3 fats from fish oil and lots of antioxidant vitamins, minerals and herbs, These will help to reduce the negative impact of the trans-fats.