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World Health Organization Wants to Eliminate Trans Fats in the Next 5 Years

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a step-by-step guide Monday that could see industrially-produced trans fatty acids eliminated by 2023.

The guide, dubbed REPLACE, outlines actions to take to eliminate trans fats, including promoting healthier alternatives and implementing legislation against these harmful ingredients.

The WHO estimates that trans fats lead to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease per year.

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With healthier options and harsher regulations, though, trans fats could be removed from the food chain and help prevent heart disease.

"Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?" WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.

Foods that contain industrially produced trans fats, like fried, baked, and snack foods, generally have a longer shelf life because of them.

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But experts say alternatives can be used with little change to taste or cost.

Many countries are already working toward eliminating the unhealthy fats. Denmark was the first country to enforce restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, and a ban on trans fats will come into effect in Canada in September 2018.

Other countries, like the United States, are also working toward this goal.

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The WHO is now looking for middle- and lower-income countries to commit, according to Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

"Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there's no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed," Tom Frieden, president and chief executive officer of the health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, told Reuters.

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