There are strong evidences that show trans fat increases the risk of heart disease. Many countries have regulation to limit the amount of trans fat in food. Singapore is no exception. The Singapore Ministry of Health announced recently that by May, ingredients used in food should not contain more than 2 g of trans fat for every 100 g of weight.

What are trans fat?

Trans fat are produced synthetically of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to stabilize the oil during food processing and preventing it from turning rancid.  Hydrogenation turns liquid vegetable oil into solid, making it easier to handle and process during food manufacturing.

Why is trans fat bad?

Research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine show the link between trans fat consumption and risk of heart disease. For details of the study and the impact of trans fat on our health see my earlier post Trans Fat: How To Spot Them In Your Food & Avoid Them

Besides heart disease risk, some of the other health issues related to trans fat consumption are:

How much trans fat do you need?

Trans fat is only necessary for food processing. You do not need trans fat in your body. However, you will invariably be consuming them as they are readily found in commercially prepared food.

According to the American Heart Association, for optimum health you should limit your consumption to no more 2 g per day.

6 Ways to cut trans fat in your diet to reduce the risk of heart disease:

1) Cut “Partially Hydrogenate” Products

Don’t eat food with the ingredients “partially hydrogenated” or  “shortening”. Read the food label carefully before you buy. Even if the ingredient “hydrogenated” is used without “partially”, the product may still contain “partially hydrogenated” oil.

2) Be careful of “ZeroFat” label

When you see a “Zero Fat” label on the food packaging, be careful. Look at the ingredients for “partially hydrogenated” or “shortening”. The USA FDA (Food Drug Administration) allow less than 0.5 g of trans fat level to be expressed as zero.

3) Limit foods high in trans fat

Limit your intake of cakes, pastries, biscuits, cookies, fried and fast foods. Here are some examples of how much trans fat is found in fast food:

  • One large McDonald’s French Fries – 8 g
  • One McDonald’s Apple Pie – 4.5 g
  • KFC Popcorn Chicken – 7 g
  • KFC 3 piece extra crispy combo meal (1 drumstick, 2 thigh, 1 potato wedge, 1 biscuit) – 15 g

4) Do not re-use cooking oil

Reusing cooking oil introduce trans fat. Throw away the oil once it has been used. Keep deep-frying of food to minimum.

5) Substitute

Instead of margarine or butter for cooking, use vegetable oil such as olive, canola, and peanut oil. Substitute margarine or butter spread with low sugar jam or olive oil. Flavour dishes with herbs and spices or lemon juice.

6) Eat healthy

Adopt a healthy eating habits. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts and seeds. They are high in fiber, contain good healthy fat such as Omega-3 fatty acid which are good for heart health.

Make smart choices today by cutting your trans fat from your diet. This will go a long way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

What are you doing to cut trans fat from your diet? Share with me in the comment box below.

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