Why is it in News?

The Government of Kerala is taking all possible steps to make people aware about the ill effects of trans fat. The Health Department has drawn up an action plan to create public awareness on the dangerous effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) in commercially available food items and to promote the local food industry to meet the current statutory limits set for TFA.

About Fats:

  • Fat is one of the three main macronutrients, along with the other two: carbohydrate and protein. Fat molecules consist primarily of carbon and hydrogen atoms, thus they are all hydrocarbon molecules. Examples include cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides. Fats are broadly divided into two- saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • An unsaturated fat is a fat or fatty acid in which there is at least one double bond within the fatty acid chain. While in case of saturated fats there is no double bond.
  • Example of saturated fats- all animal based fats are saturated fats- ghee, butter, cheese etc.
  • Plant based and fish based fats are unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are less harmful compared to saturated fats. Saturated fats have more shelf life compared to unsaturated fats.

What is Trans fat?

  • Trans fat is simply liquid oils turned into solid fats during food processing. There is also a small amount of trans fat that occurs naturally in some meat and dairy products, but those found in processed foods tend to be the most harmful to our health.
  • Trans fat increases LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and decreases HDL (Good Cholesterol).

Source: TH