What is Trans Fat?

Trans fat is a type of fat which is formed when liquid oils are changed into more stable semisoilid fats, such as shortening and hard margarine. this process is known as hydrogenation. 

Trans fat is also produced by the normal action of bacteria in the stomach of cows and sheep. hence, low levels of trans fat occurs naturally in dairy products, beef, lamb and mutton. vegetable oils contain vry small amounts of trans fat, which is formed during the refining process. 

Major sources of trans fat

T和main sources of trans fat in our diet are pastries, cakes, cookies, biscuits, commercially deep fried foods, as well as products containing vegetable shortening and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. 

Why is trans fat so bad?

Trans fat raises LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)and reduces HDL cholesterol (“good”cholesterol) in the body. As a result, trans fat increases the risk of developing heart disease. 

What other types of fat should we avoid besides Trans Fat?

We should watch out for saturated fat too. Saturated fat raises LOL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) which increases the risk of heart disease. 

Saturated fat is mainly found in:

  • Animal fats e.g butter, lard, ghee, fatty meat, skin of poultry. 
  • High fat dairy products e.g. full cream milk. 
  • palm-vegetables oils.
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream. 

How much Trans Fat and Saturated Fats Can I have?

We should keep trans fat intake to a minimum. As a guide, limit trans fat to less than 2g per day. For Saturated Fat, consume no more than 20g in your dairy diet. 

Read food labels for the content of trans and saturated fats in food products. You can also find out the amount of trans and saturated fats in commonly eaten foods here. 

What can I do to reduce Trans and Saturated fats in my diet?

Here are what you can do to reduce Trans Fat:

At Home:

  1. Use less oil in cooking.
  2. Use lean cuts of meat and poultry.
  3. Replace coconut milk or coconut cream with low fat milk.
  4. Replace meat in dishes with beans or bean products, peas and lentils on some days.

Eating Out:

  1. Choose dishes prepared without coconut cream or coconut milk. 
  2. Limit deep-fried food to no more than twice a week. 
  3. Remove visible skin or fat from meat or poultry. 

When Shopping:

  1.  Choose low fat or skimmed milk and dairy products. 
  2. Choose soft margarine over hard marganine/butter.
  3. Choose products with the Healthier Choice Symbol. 
  4. Read the ingredient list to identify products contaning hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and vegetable shortening. Select these products less often. 

Choosing and preparing food with less saturated and trans fats is a step towards achieving a healthy and balanced diet. 

You should also ensure that your diet is rich in a variety of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains (e.g. Brown rice, wholemeal bread.). Choose foods with less salt and sugar as well. 

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