Poisonous Trans Fatty Acid is the Real Culprit behind Diabetes- Study (Dr. Anoop Mishra)

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New mantra is change to healthy oils to escape diabetes

Poisonous Trans Fatty Acid is the Real Culprit behind Diabetes- Study (Dr. Anoop Mishra)

New Delhi, November 12:  The ‘culprit’ behind diabetes in North India has been caught with irrefutable proofs. The name of the culprit is Trans Fatty Acid that comes from the oils that cook our food. Dr. Anoop Mishra, unarguably the best diabetes expert in the country, today filed the ‘charge sheet’ against those oils which contain in excess the poison called Trans fatty acid just two days before World Diabetes Day (14 November).

All Banaspati oil s and then Desi Ghee are villains of the piece. They contain poisonous Tran fatty acids in lethal amount.  Foods cooked in them do irreparable damage to all our vital organs including liver and pancreas and are the reason of a dozen disease mainly diabetes, heart disease and cancer. India is in throes of this Trans Fat acid catastrophe.

These intimidating facts about Trans fatty acids that come with the oils which cook our palatable food s have emerged out of an extensive four year study done under the aegis of Ministry of Science and Technology.  Unveiling the results of the study, done for the first time ever, Dr. Mishra warned that the government should not look other way and move swiftly against Tran fats being used with impunity. According to him the new mantra should be to change to healthy oils forthwith.  This single step can give you about 20 years of more life.

According to the study, Trans fatty acids have a unique demoniac quality; it shortens the life of man but increases the shelf life of the foods cooked in oil containing excess trans fat. The study has probed both oils and the foods cooked in them. It has come out clearly which oils should be used and which oils should be completely shunned. Mustard and Olive oil are the healthiest of all. But the devil is in the detail too. All oils contain trans fatty acids in varying degrees, so according to study, amount is of paramount importance. Even the best and so called healthy oil taken in access is as harmful. The method of cooking is equally so important to keep harms of Trans Fatty acids at bay. The study has only taken into account the Trans Fatty Acids in Oils and Foods in North India, and the Effects of Cooking Methods.

In the light of this study, Bhatura, Puri, Samosa, Fried aloo chaat, Halwa, Aloo tikki, Mathi, namakpara, Kachori, Fried Namkeens should be a strict no no. According to Dr. Anoop Mishra, no amount of exercise or hard work can undo the harmful effects of trans fatty acid containing foods.

The study has been jointly done by Diabetes Foundation (India), National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation & Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. The study was done under the supervision of  Prof. Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases andEndocrinology and Chairman, National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation(N-DOC) and     Director, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetes Foundation (India) (DFI). Dr. Swati Bhardwaj, Senior Research Officer (Nutrition), Diabetes Foundation (India) (DFI), Head, Nutrition & Fatty Acid Research, National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation (N-DOC) was his active associate in the study.

India is undergoing rapid dietary transition. High economic growth coupled with extended working hours and unavailability of home cooked food has resulted in a burgeoning middle-class having greater access to commercially available foods, which includes fried and baked food items. Most of these foods contain high amounts of Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs), if cooked in widely available partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (Vanaspati) or repeatedly re-heated oils, both of which are used to reduce the food cost. TFAs can adversely affect cholesterol levels, predispose to diabetes and coronary heart disease, and also affect many other organs.

Facts about TPA, its harms and the detailed results of the study

TFAs are the most important type of ‘bad fats’ in diet, and have much more adverse effects on body than any other dietary constituent. Artificial TFAs are made when hydrogen gas is made to react with oil, to form hard fats. They are also formed in repeatedly re-heated and re-used oils. Major source of artificial TFAs in our diet are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO), the most common example in India is Vanaspati and margarine. Small amount of TFAs are naturally present in dairy foods and animal products.

Present Indian Scenario:

•        Vanaspati is the main source of TFAs in India, providing approximately 40% TFAs.
•        It accounts for 10% of total production of edible oils, with a maximum consumption of 20g/person/day in north India.
•        Vanaspati was, being consumed by 7.2% mainly for the purpose of frying, however some even used it for cooking
•        As a common practice, 45% women allowed the oil to smoke before initiating frying.
•        Reutilization of oil (used for frying) was done by 95.8% respondents.
•        The used oil was mostly re-utilised for the purpose of re-frying (70%).
•        54% left the used oil after frying in the same karahi in which the frying was done and straining of used oil before storing was practised by very few (6.0%).
•        While, 43.3% reportedly re-used the fat/ oil (used for frying) at least 2-3 times, 5% kept re-using it till the quantity was reduced to be used for sautéing vegetables in the same vessel.
•        ~ 28% respondents had heard of the term “trans fats” but only 20% could describe it as “Bad fat”. On the other hand, 5% considered it as a good fat (since it is made from vegetable oils), while remaining 73.3 per cent were completely ignorant.
•        Although 53% respondents reportedly read the nutrition label before buying any food items, very few (14.6%) checkedit for their TFA content.
•        65.4% respondents opted for Desi ghee as better fat for their health while 4.2% preferred vanaspati, whereas 5.7% had a view that both are the same.
Frequency of Consumption of Fried/ Baked Food Items
•        The frequency of consumption of fried foods showed a wide variation, food items like bhujiya, namkeen and paranthawere being consumed almost daily by a majority of the respondents.
•        Baked food items, such as rusks and biscuitswere reportedly being consumed almost daily by 40% and 32% of the respondents respectively.
•        Foods like pizza were being consumed by nearly one-third of the subjects as part of weekend eating out.

  • TFA content of fats and oils[TFA content more than 1g/100g of oil (1%)]:

Fats/oils     TFA (g/100g)

Vanaspati  13.7

Desi ghee   3.3

Sunflower oil     2.9

Mustard oil         2.8

Canola oil  1.6

Yellow Butter     1.5

White Butter       1.4

Soybean oil        0.9

Red palm oil       0.7

Rice bran oil       0.4

Groundnut oil    0.3

Blended oil         0.2

Olive oil    0.1

Coconut oil         0

Palm oil     0

Peanut butter      0

Sandwich spread          4.4

TFA content in heated/re-heated fats and oils

•        To study the effect of heat treatment/ frying, on the formation of TFA, a total of 6 fats/ oils samples (Soyabean, Groundnut, Olive, Canola, Desi Ghee, Vanaspati.)were shortlisted for heating/ re-heating and frying/ re-frying at varying temperatures.

•        When the oil was heated at 180ºC, it was observed that, overall there was an increase in the SFA and TFA levels with a decrease in the levels of cis-TUFA.

•        This trend continued when the oil was heated at 220ºC.

•        Further, when the oil was re-heated after cooling down to room temperature, since it had already been heated to 220ºC earlier, even re-heating up to 180ºC increased the SFA and TFA content and decreased the cis-TUFA content.

•        However, re-heating the oil sample to 220ºC drastically increased the levels of SFA and TFA.

•        When frying was carried out in the oil sample at 180ºC and 220ºC, the trend was quite similar to that of heated oil samples i.e. the SFA and TFA increased with subsequent frying cycles

Trans Fatty Acid Content of Heated and Re-heated Fats/ Oils

 Temperature      Refined Soybean Oil (g/100g)

Refined Groundnut Oil (g/100g)  Refined Olive Oil (g/100g)  Refined Canola Oil (g/100g)     Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable oil (g/100g)        Desi Ghee (g/100g)

Unheated   0.00  0.00  0.00  1.60  13.90         0.68

180ᵒC Heat         0.60  1.60  0.42  2.30  15.20         1.40

220ᵒC Heat         1.70  2.10  0.89  2.90  16.10         1.80

180ᵒC Re-Heat   2.10  2.30  1.10  3.30  17.90         3.00

220ᵒC Re-Heat   3.70  4.50  3.70  4.20  18.70         3.30

Absolute (Net) increase        3.70  4.50  3.70  2.60  4.80  2.62

*Absolute (Net) increase; difference between baseline value (value of unheated fat/oil) and final value (value of fat/oil after subjecting to re-heating at 220ºC).

Trans Fatty Acid Content of Fat/ Oils Samples used for Frying after heating/ re-heating*

Temperature       Refined Soybean Oil (g/100g)

Refined Groundnut Oil (g/100g)  Refined Olive Oil (g/100g)  Refined Canola Oil (g/100g)     Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable oil (g/100g)        Desi Ghee (g/100g)

Unheated (Room temperature)      0.00  0.00  0.00  1.60  13.90         0.68

Fried at 180ºC    0.36  1.50  0.28  2.09  14.70         1.20

Fried at 220ºC    1.50  2.01  0.51  2.60  15.80         1.60

Fried in re-heated fat/oil at 180ºC 2.00  2.10  1.40  3.20  17.00         2.80

Fried in re-heated fat/oil at 220ºC 3.20  3.70  3.60  3.90  18.60         3.10

Absolute (Net) change 3.20  3.70  3.60  2.30  4.70  2.42

*Oil was heated to selected temperatures and then frying was carried out.

TFA content in select food items:

For each food type, two separate food samples purchased from different shops were used for analyses. The values here are mean values.

Fried Foods:

•        In all 10 fried food items were selected for analysis of their TFA content

•        The total TFA content of selected samples of fried food items was: Bhujiya1.48g/100g, Samosa: 1.28g/100g, Potato chips and French fries: 1.27g/100g, Tikki: 1.13g/100g, Aloo chaat; 1.02g/100g while the TFA content of selected samples of parantha, bread pakora, gulabjamun and bhatura had relatively low levels of TFA content per 100g however per serving their TFA content may be high.

Baked Foods:

•        In all 6 bakery food items were selected for TFA analysis.

•        The total TFA content of the selected food samples ranged between 1.58g/100g (Patties), 1.33g/100g (bakery biscuits), 1.0g/100g (pastry) to 0.7g/100g (burger), 0.29g/100g (rusk) and 0.22g/ 100g of food item (Pizza)

Dairy Products

•        In all 5 dairy products and 2 miscellaneous foods were selected for analysis.

•        The total TFA content ranged between 0.4g/100g (Cheese slice) to 0.04g/100g (Cheese Slice).

•        The TFA content varied with mayonnaise vegetarian having a lower level (1.95g/100 g of the food item) as compared to mayonnaise egg (2.98g/100 g of food item).


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