AUSTRALIA – The Obama administration on Tuesday placed a ban on the use of trans-fats in food products for the next three years, and Australian health authorities are taking a cue from this to ramp up quality standards in food products, especially as it relates to the use of trans-fats which has been linked to serious health risks.
Several studies have shown that trans-fats increase LDL or bad cholesterols in the human body, while at the same time limiting the ability of the body to produce HDL or good cholesterols – a process that ultimately increases the chances of diabetes, strokes, and cardiovascular diseases among other related diseases.
Trans-fats result from the use of hydrogen to treat vegetable oils – so as to enable them to remain nearly solid at room temperature; a development that helps baked products like cakes, biscuits, and doughnuts to retain their shapes while increasing their shelf life.
While the US has fully clamped down on the use of trans-fats in foods – with fast food chains complying with this regulation, Australia too has taken major steps to minimize the use of trans-fats since the 1990s. According to Australian Heart Foundation nutritionist Shane Landon, the country took immediate action to address concerns generated by trans-fats the moment these became obvious, and they reformulated their food products and their processing techniques to greatly reduce trans-fats.
The problem how remains that majority of aboriginals and low income earners still consume lots of trans-fats from pastries, cakes, doughnuts and other low-rate foods due to their low economic levels. Many of these people do not even know they are consuming unhealthy amounts of trans-fats from their foods because there is no way of knowing this and they lack the knowledge needed to eliminate it from their diets.
Health authorities in Australia however recommend that labels detailing trans-fats be put on food products so that consumers would know what they are consuming, and make appropriate choice until food companies get to the point of eliminating trans-fats totally from their products.