Ban trans-fats in restaurants: HCFI

11:54 am Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine

Consumption of these can cause weight gain, heart problems, and even diabetes

New Delhi, 20th June 2018: In a significant move, the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) has written to the health ministry requesting a ban on the use of trans fats in the restaurants. This follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban of artificial trans fats from American restaurants and grocery store food items recently. The FDA deemed trans fats unsafe in 2015 and gave companies until June 18, 2018 to eliminate the ingredient.

Trans fats have been a staple in the tastiest junk foods for more than 100 years. The FDA ban applies to artificial trans fats, which are made chemically by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated oil is also trans-fat). Trans fats increases the shelf life of packaged foods, and restaurants like to use it as oil for deep frying because it doesn’t need to be changed as often as other oils.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “The FDA’s move to provide an ultimatum for the ban of trans fats in American restaurants is a highly welcome one and should be replicated with immediate effect in India as well. The health effects of these are not unknown but consumption in various forms continues, particularly when it comes to eating outside food. Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, rev up inflammation and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels.”

Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. This changes the chemical structure of the oil, turning it from a liquid into a solid. The process involves high pressure, hydrogen gas, and a metal catalyst – and the end-product is highly unsuitable for human consumption.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Foods rich in trans fats tend to be high in added sugar and calories. Over time, these can pave way for weight gain and even Type 2 diabetes, not to mention heart problems. It is time to take a strong stand against their use in eateries outside considering the fact that many people eat in restaurants regularly in today’s day and age.”

Some tips from HCFI

· Choose foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.

· Replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These fats do not raise LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels and have health benefits when eaten in moderation. Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include soybean, corn, sunflower oils, and foods like nuts.

· Choose vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarines (liquid, tub, or spray) more often because the combined amount of saturated and trans fats is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarines, and animal fats, including butter.

· Most fish are lower in saturated fat than meat. Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines and salmon, contain omega–3 fatty acids that are being studied to determine if they offer protection against heart disease.

· Limit foods high in cholesterol such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks and full–fat dairy products, like whole milk.

· Choose foods low in saturated fat such as fat free or 1% dairy products, lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, whole grain foods and fruit and vegetables.

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