Ban on trans fatty acids in Australia’s foods could save lives, money: study

SYDNEY, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — Australia should eliminate the harmful ingredient of trans fatty acids in the local food supply so as to prevent thousands of deaths from heart diseases, Australian researchers said on Tuesday.

The study, conducted by Sydney-based George Institute for Global Health, found taking actions to ban trans fatty acids, a well-known risk factor for heart diseases from Australia’s food supply could save both lives and money for the country.

The modeling study found that such a ban could prevent around 2,000 deaths and 10,000 heart attack cases over the first 10 years and up to 42,000 deaths from heart diseases over the lifetime of the adult population (the time from when the ban starts to when all individuals died or reached 100 years of age).

Despite the health risk, Australian law doesn’t require local food manufacturers eliminating trans fatty acids from the food supply since it has been argued to be too costly in Australia for both government and the food industry.

However, the new study suggests otherwise that the cost of implementing the legislative measure of such a ban should be considerably less than the estimated heart disease-related healthcare cost over ten years and beyond.

While it is still hard to avoid trans fatty acids at moment, lead author Matti Marklund from the George Institute for Global Health said Australian consumers can still minimize their intake by checking the labels of the packaged foods before buying.

“Any products that include partially hydrogenated fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the ingredient list are more likely to contain trans fats,” Marklund said.

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