Love junk food? Looks like the government just accelerated your journey to healthy eating. Starting June 19, 2023, the use of trans fat in prepackaged processed food products is now banned in the Philippines.
The Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an order in 2021 that prohibits processed food products with trans fatty acids, manufactured, imported, and distributed for commercial sale. The said policy is effective after June 18, 2023. Manufacturers were given over a year to reformulate and remove trans fatty acids from their products.
What are trans fats?
According to the American Heart Association, there are two types of trans fats: natural and artificial. Trans fats are naturally found in milk and meat products. The artificial trans fat are hydrogenated liquid vegetable oils, aka "solid fat".
Trans fats give that delicious taste to foods and when added with sugar, makes every bite more sinful and delectable. This ingredient is inexpensive, so fast food companies rely on this to make french fries and burgers super delish. Trans fats' flavor boosting ability make it pretty common to see on ingredient labels—satisfied cravings equals more sales.
Which foods contain trans fats?
Trans fat is commonly found in coffee creamer, margarine, packaged baked goods, and fried foods. In grocery items, look for the ingredient "partially hydrogenated oil"—this is trans fat in food chem speak.
We may have to see less of our favorite cookies and cakes in the grocery aisle moving forward. Most of our pantry mainstays contain trans fat so expect to radically change your shopping list—and this is for your own good.
Why is trans fat bad for the health?
High intake of trans fats increase your risk for coronary heart disease. It raises your bad (low density lipoprotein or LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein or HDL). It can also be linked to developing type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Luigi Segundo of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) during a press conferencewith fellow health advocates in Quezon City said: "This ban on trans fats will help improve health outcomes for Filipinos and protect consumers from the dangers of trans fats." ICYMI, data from Philippine Statistics Authority states that cardiovascular diseases are the top cause of deaths in Filipinos.
Apparently, many countries have already banned trans fats, so it shows that is possible to live in the world without this ingredient. This policy is a challenge manufacturers to provide healthier products for Filipinos. Their compliance makes it easy for us, consumers, to make wiser dietary choices.