International Yoga Day – 21 June 2021
World Hypertension Day – 17 May 2021
Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!
Hypertension affects more than 30% of the adult population worldwide, more than one billion people around the world. It is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary heart disease and stroke, but also for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia.
India Hypertension Control Initiative Study The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) a multi-partner initiative conducted a cohort study in 24 IHCI sites in four Indian states — Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana was jointly funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Council of Research (ICMR). The aim of the study was to strengthen hypertension or high blood pressure management and control by surveilling and treating patients. The details of the study could be found here.
Consumer VOICE welcomed 2021 with this great decision. The campaign for the elimination of trans fats in oils has finally seen the light of the tunnel. After more than a year’s hard work and efforts, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced that all edible refined oils, vanaspati, bakery shortening, margarines, vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads may only contain up to 3% trans fats by January 2021 and 2% or less trans fats by January 2022. The move is the first step by FSSAI towards fulfilling its commitments made in 2018 to reduce trans-fats in both edible oils and in all foods.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
Covid-19 changed the way we all worked. Our campaigns too were online and we resorted to social media and webinars to put forth our point on the elimination of trans fats in foods and oils. Here are some of the highlights from our campaign:
TWITTER CHAT ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD FOOD DAY
Consumer Voice organized national twitter chat on the occasion of world food day.
The twitter chat was supported by Experts -Dr Sujeet Ranjan Executive Director – The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security (CFNS), Dr Shweta Khandelwal, Public health expert & nutritionist, Ms Kavita Devgan nutritionist & columnist and Dr Sanchika Gupta, Public Health Experts besides social activists, consumer organisations, fitness freak community, students etc.
WORLD HEART DAY
OBSERVING WORLD HEART DAY WITH CARDIOLOGISTS AND SPORTSMAN
Globally 29th September is celebrated as World Heart Day every year. This day was founded in 2000 to create global awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and it is the leading cause of death around the world. CVD was also conducted during the follow-up sessions. On this occasion of World Heart Day 2020, Consumer VOICE highlighted the importance of a healthy heart through different social media stories engaging influencers and experts from the medical fraternity, sportsperson, chefs and nutritionists and consumer rights activists etc. We engaged experts like Dr. Col Sitaram, Apollo Hospital, Secunderabad, the doyen of Indian athletics, 91 years old veteran runner Shri Milkha Singh and Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Professor Cardiology, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal for the occasion.
TRANS FAT ELIMINATION INITIATIVE IN THE FESTIVAL MONTHS
The month of November was filled with festivals like Diwali, Bhaidooj, and Gurupurab. During these festivals, usually people consume food which carries high calories including trans fatty acids and other fats in foods including Gulab Jamun, Barfi, different types of namkeen etc. Trans-fats are considered hazardous to our health. Eating these trans-fats laden foods increase our bad (LDL) cholesterol and reduce good (HDL) cholesterol. Through social media campaigns, Consumer VOICE has made people aware of avoiding trans-fat laden food and stay safe and remain healthy.
This mother’s day, we demand the government act fast on policy for the elimination of trans fats from foods for the sake of the health of our kids. FSSAI must finalize the notification limiting trans fats in foods.
WORLD FOOD SAFETY DAY
WORLD FOOD DAY WEBINAR (16TH OCTOBER)
CII SKA – FACE and Consumer VOICE organised a webinar on the occasion of World Food Day on 16th October 2020 on Reducing Non-Communicable Disease burden by eliminating Trans Fats.
- Prabodh Halde, Head,Global Regulatory, Marico Ltd
- Biprabuddha Chatterjee, Head – R&D, Adani Wilmar
- Devender Yadav, Vice President- Quality, Food Safety and Regulatory, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd
- Ashim Sanyal, COO, Consumer VOICE
- Rubeena , Director Standards, FSSAI
- Jagmeet Madan, National President, Indian Dietetic Association
WEBINAR ON TFA AND THE HEART (1ST OCTOBER)
An Outlook exclusive webinar on the perils of trans fatty acids, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and MD of Medanta, Dr Ananya Awasthi, Assistant Director Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, India Research Centre, Laurene Aubert, Manager SUN Business Network’s Global Partnerships and GAIN N4G Lead at Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition speak on how trans fats can cause heart disease and why raising awareness is important.
CUT IT OUT (19TH AUGUST)
Consumer VOICE helped Outlook Poshan in organizing a webinar titled “Cut It Out”-where experts explained why trans fat must go from the Indian food systems urging governments to focus on eliminating industrially produced trans fats. Present in the webinar were Vandana Shah, Regional Director, South Asia Programs at GHAI, Dr Sudhir Gupta, Additional Deputy Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ashim Sanyal, COO, Consumer VOICE, Dr. Arun Singhal, CEO of FSSAI, Sunil Bakshi, Head (Regulations/Codex/International Cooperation), FSSAI, feasible to implement), Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition for Health and Development at WHO were among the panellists besides other eminent people from Industry, food and compliance sector. Senior policymakers from the Ministry of Health, FSSAI and various global experts participated at the dialog who emphasised the urgent need to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from the Indian food system.
DR SHWETA KHANDELWAL – MATTER OF FAT
Dr Shweta Khandelwal explains the dangers of trans fats, and why nutrition is interlinked with deadly diseases and the empowerment of civil society in an exclusive conversation with Mr Ramannda Sengupta, Consultant Editor, Outlook Poshan.
IN CONVERSATION WITH DR. RAJAN SHANKAR
Dr Rajan Sankar, Director, Nutrition, for Tata Trusts in conversation with Mr Ramannda Sengupta, Consultant Editor, Outlook Poshan, talks candidly about the important linkages between trans fatty acids or TFA and non-communicable diseases and the need to act quickly to cap it.
TRANS-FAT AND HYPERTENSION
Globally, trans fat intake results in more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease every year. Trans fat is also a reason for increased risk of cardiovascular diseases which is the biggest cause of death around the world. In India, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are the most important risk factors for chronic disease burden Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have now become the leading cause of mortality in India. A quarter of all mortality is attributable to CVD. Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the predominant causes and are responsible for more than 80% of CVD deaths.
WHAT IS TRANS-FAT?
Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, thereby increasing the shelf life of foods. Trans-fats are largely present in vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods.
Pic Credit : Ashita Sharma (Volunteer)
THERE ARE BASICALLY TWO FORMS OF TRANS-FATS: NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FORMS
Natural trans-fats occur in meat and dairy products and these are not considered to be harmful.
Artificial trans-fats or trans fatty acids is formed through industrial process by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil making the oil solid at room temperature.Food companies often use tans-fats, an inexpensive method, to enhance the taste and increase the shelf life. But this is considered dangerous for the health.These trans-fats are considered hazardous to our health. Eating these trans-fats increased bad (LDL) Cholesterol and reduces good (HDL) Cholesterol.
FOODS THAT CONTAIN TRANS FAT
Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are the main source of industrially-produced trans fats. These oils are most frequently found in – baked and fried foods – prepared or pre-packaged snacks – fried street and restaurant foods. Heating and frying oil at high temperatures leads to modest increases by 3.67 g/100g and by 3.57 g/100g respectively while there is no evidence that other cooking methods, e.g., baking, boiling and grilling, lead to increased trans fats concentrations.
As per WHO, at present India has been reported to contain 6%-30% of Trans fats which is much beyond the recommended limit of 2%. A survey of street food in India (Delhi and Haryana) found that 25% of snack foods had levels of TFA more than recommended intake. Commonly consumed deep fried sweets in India (samosa, gulab jamun, jalebi) prepared with vanaspati are reported to contain up to 50% of fat as TFA. More than 60,000 deaths approximately, were attributable to high trans-fat intake in India in 2010.
As per Draft Notifications of FSSAI, the Indian Food Safety Regulator, limit of trans fats in the fats / oils will be not more than 3% by weight on and from January 01, 2021 and not more than 2% by weight on and from January 01, 2022. On and from January 01, 2022, food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain trans fats more than 2% by weight of the total fats / oils present in the product. Consumer VOICE is focusing on these Draft Notifications of FSSAI to generate awareness on trans fats.
VOICE has taken the initiative to spread awareness regarding hypertension and cardiovascular disease for the interest of public health. The overall aim of this campaign is to spread awareness among the public and stakeholders about the risks of trans-fat, hypertension, and overallcardiovascular disease prevention in India and adoption of 2% trans-fat limit in oils, fats and food items in India. VOICE has adopted multipronged strategy which include sensitizing media and public at large, engaging with Industry and Industry Associations involved in producing oils, fats and food items, working with food regulators to prioritise implementing trans-fats regulations in food items.
Sensitizing the media and people on the ill effects of trans-fats and prevailing FSSAI’s current regulations and overall goal of making it less than 2% in 2020.
- Ensuring implementation of FSSAI regulations by industry producing oil and food products
- Creating resources to spread awareness on trans fats through case studies, best practices, research backed articles and various communication materials
- VOICE plans to hold workshops involving media and other stakeholders such as industry, regulators, nutrition and health specialist and use the social media to reach out to the people and create a favourable environment for adoption of 2% trans-fats by 2020 and further its complete removal in the near future.
TRANS-FATS FREE LOGO
In order to eliminate industrial trans-fat, FSSAI has recently introduced a Trans-fats free logo to be used by bakeries, sweet shops, food outlets and other food business operators preparing or dealing in food items produced from oils and fats by not using industrial fats more than 0.2g per 100 gm of food items.
Consumer VOICE, COO, Mr Ashim Sanyal speaks about trans fat and hypertension
THE FIGHT AGAINST NCDS AND TRANS FAT
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have emerged as the leading cause of human mortality and morbidity in low, middle and high-income countries alike and India is not an exception. WHO has flagged off this as a major disaster for future and their control program REPLACE lists out the basic control measures. Food Regulator in India Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also issued a draft notification on eliminating chemical trans fats in food by 2022.
HERE ARE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages.
- Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower or olive oil.
- Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils or saturated fat.
- Look for “0 g trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts label and no hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.
- Doughnuts, cookies, muffins, samosas, jalebis and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans fat. Limit how frequently you eat them.
- Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Not only are these foods very high in fat, but that fat is also likely to be trans fat.
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