Comes with the festival season comes a time to feast on the trans fats. It is inevitable to indulge on fried foods like puris, samosas, and pakoras, which are the major source of unhealthy trans fats, during the festival season. This not only leads to increase in the bad and overall cholesterol levels in the blood but also causes piling of other harmful toxins in the body.
Trans fats are largely artificial fats, prepared by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils under pressure. A common example of a trans fatty acid is 'vanaspati', which is artificial and manmade. Usually, vanaspati is used as a popular alternative for ghee by street vendors. These hydrogenated fats or trans fats are made in such a manner that they add a yummy 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 transfats. 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 the case of women, it doubles the risk of cardio disease. It also decreases the 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. Especially, 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)
- Fried chicken
- Potato chips
- Street food
- Fried Sweets
- Ready to eat meals
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