Researchers say India, a country with more than one billion people, will likely account for 60 per cent of heart disease patients worldwide, by 2010. As a country with which churns out 3 million graduates annually, we seem to be seriously unaware of where we have gone wrong?
A majority of us would never spend time on reading the labels of the food that we buy. A simple survey would yield shocking results; that most of us know that HDL is 'good cholesterol' and LDL is 'bad cholesterol' but actually very few of us know that there are 'bad fats' and 'good fats' too. According to a survey conducted for the American Heart Association, fewer than half of Americans know that the "better" fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) can help reduce their risk of heart disease.
AdvertisementThe American Heart Association (AHA) is concerned that America will go back to higher saturated fat consumption as the nation moves to significantly reduce trans fats. AHA has developed the 'Face the Fats' campaign to help consumers minimize trans fats in their diet, while avoiding the unintended health consequence of defaulting to more saturated fats. Among the campaign's top priorities is to encourage replacing trans fat-laden partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, animal fats and tropical oils with healthier oils like Canola; higher in unsaturated fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
That's why the American Heart Association created this Web section - to help you face the facts about fats. They have created light-hearted characterization of "the Bad Fats Brothers" ie. the Trans fats and Saturated fats; because they raise your bad cholesterol. Similarly, a depiction is carried on "the Better Fats sisters" ie. the Poly-unsaturated and the mono-unsaturated; because they lower your bad cholesterol. Similarly the British Heart Foundation, American Dietetic Association, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) UK, Australian Medical Association (AMA) and hundreds of other internationally renowned organizations have taken upon themselves to call for a ban on "artery clogging" Trans fats and lowering consumption of Saturated fats in their own countries by switching to healthier oils like Canola which has a highest content of Unsaturated Good fats and the lowest content of Saturated Bad fats amongst all oils in the world. After Denmark, Switzerland and USA; UK and Australia are looking to ban Trans Fats completely from their food. Says Dr Vikas Saini, a clinical cardiologist & researcher at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health"A significant amount of heart disease in India is attributable to the trans fat content of foods. Given the severity of the heart epidemic unfolding in the country, tight regulation of trans fat content of foods is an urgent matter. Can we enjoy baked and fried foods without trans fats? In our house, we use only healthy oils like Canola Oil for frying and the food remains delicious; I have even baked cookies and cakes with Canola Oil and they tasted just as good! But when eating out, especially those tasty tea time snacks, it remains buyer beware!"
A lot has been researched and written about the pitfalls of the Indian Dietary habits and we continue to flog the western fast foods; most sought after by our Y-Gen, in sheer ignorance of the unhealthy profile of our own Indian snacks. The Indian snack foods like Paranthas, Bhaturas, Tikkis, Samosas, Pakoras, Pooris, Vadas rate very high in Trans fats and saturated fats as compared to French Fries. As if this is not enough, most sweet shops and restaurants tend to cook on Trans fat rich Vanaspati and re-heat, re-fry most of their snacks. In an article published by the Research Society for the study of Diabetes in India, it was found that fat composition in each Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi and South Indian meals was in the range of 21-28 gms; way above the required intake.
So it is time to gather our facts right on the Fats and switch over to healthier cooking oils containing high unsaturated fats and low saturated fats. Let's graduate to reading our food labels and create a healthier India.