Banning trans fats in Britain would save 7, lives over the next five years, research suggests. The artificial fat is used to improve the taste, texture and shelf-life of processed foods, although trans fats also occur naturally in dairy such as whole milk, and some meats. Experts from Oxford University and the Department of Public Health and Policy at Liverpool University suggest that banning the fats from processed foods could save thousands of lives across the UK every Writing in the British Medical Journal BMJexperts said around 7, deaths from heart disease could be prevented in England over the next five years if the artificial fats were banned.
At the moment, there is no legal requirement for food manufacturers to label trans fats. Consumers are advised to check ingredients lists for hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
There is also no legal requirement to remove trans fats from foods.
Some manufacturers have pledged a commitment to working towards removing trans fats through the Government's responsibility deal. The study's authors said voluntary commitments from industry did not go far enough and it was time for "decisive action".
Higher intake of these fats is linked with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and death. Poorer families are more likely to consume trans fats. Dr Tim Chico, a consultant cardiologist at the University of Sheffield, said it was clear that artificially-manufactured trans fats, "whose use only benefits the food industry", increase the risk of heart disease.
Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London, said industrial trans fats were virtually absent from UK diets and the figure on the number of preventable deaths in the study was flawed.
He said higher intakes of trans fats in low income groups could mainly be explained by the fact they are more likely to have full fat milk, butter and fatty meat products. Naturally occurring sources of trans fats were not linked to an increased risk of
Trans fats ban fdating disease, he added.