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What consumers need to know about safe food
THE HINDU, DECEMBER 02, 2018


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the health hazards of trans fats in diet are expounded on, consumers get wary about what foods contain trans fat or how much is too much.

While foods like beef or butter and other dairy products are bound to contain small amount of natural trans fat, it is the industrially generated artificial trans fat that causes health problems. Common sources of artificial trans fat include foods fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVOs); margarine and vegetable shortening; prepared foods like pre-fried French fries and doughnuts; and baked goods such as hamburger buns, pizza dough, crackers and pies.

Products made with artificial trans fat will have ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil listed in the ingredients. The WHO recommends that the total fat intake as % of energy should not exceed 30%. The intake of saturated fat as % of energy should not exceed 10% .

For cardiac patients, this is 7% .


Saturated fat

There is evidence that trans fat is worse than saturated fat. When it comes to cooking oil, the healthier options are polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) and monounsaturated fats, like olive oil. Sesame oil, which contains both mono and poly unsaturated fats in equal amounts, is also considered healthy. But cooking oils with more saturated fatty acids such as coconut oil are more stable than oils with unsaturated fatty acids.

During deep frying, oil undergoes degradation due to elevated temperatures above 180 degrees which results in changes in the physico-chemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil and the release of polar compounds.


Polar compounds

The estimation of Total Polar Compounds (TPC) is an accepted parameter to decide whether the oil is safe for further use. The FSSAI has fixed a limit for TPCs at 25%, beyond which the vegetable oil shall not be used.

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