Trans fat may tickle your taste buds but bad for your health

By  , Jagran Cityplus
Dec 30, 2010

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 Trans fat may tickle your tasteWith the festive time, comes the season of trans fats. We heavily feast on fried foods like puris, samosas and pakoras, which are major source of unhealthy trans fats. They harm by increasing our cholesterol level and also raise other harmful fats in the blood.


Trans fats are largely artificial fats, prepared by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil under pressure. A common example of trans-fatty acid is 'vanaspati', which is artificial and manmade. Usually vanaspati is used as popular alternative for ghee by street vendors. These hydrogenated fats or trans fats are made in such a manner that they add pleasing mouth-feel to all processed food items. For example - think of buttery popcorns, French fries, pastries and cakes. Definitely, these delicacies owe their quality taste to trans fats. Not only trans fats are bad for our cholesterol but also they increase the risk of heart attack more than any other major dietary factor. Especially in case of women, it doubles the risk of cardio disease. It also decreases cognitive function of the brain in people more than 65 years of age.


How to check trans fats on food items? One can read nutrition facts label on the products, specifically 'trans fat' section under total fat. Also, hunt for words like 'hydrogenated' or partially hydrogenated in the ingredients' list. Along with that you can also compare amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. Specially pay attention to labels claiming 'trans fat free'.


Foods that usually contain high levels of trans fats:

  • Pastries and cakes
  • French fries (unless fried in lard/dripping)
  • Doughnuts
  • Cookies/biscuits
  • Chocolate
  • Fried chicken
  • Crackers
  • Potato chips
  • Street food
  • Namkeen
  • Fried sweets
  • Ready to eat meals

—Vani Vyas


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