Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 22, 2007

Two healthier fats should be included in diet

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:59 am

NST: GENERALLY, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids tend to lower people’s risk of heart diseases.
Called the healthier fats, these two fats should be included in our diet.
Many common vegetable oils (like soy bean, corn and sunflower), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, smelt, herring and trout), fish oils, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, soybeans and some nuts (for example, walnuts) contain high proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Olive oil, canola oil, high oleic sunflower oil, avocados and nuts like cashews, pecans, almonds and peanuts, contain high proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids.
Saturated and trans-fatty acids are the “unhealthy fats” that raise people’s risk of heart diseases.
Saturated fat has traditionally been known as “the bad fat” because it raises the blood levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), although it also ups the blood levels of good cholesterol (HDL) at the same time.
It is mostly found in coconut, palm and palm kernel oils, animal fats (for example, pork, lamb and beef), butter, cheese and other dairy products.
But trans fat has been shown to be worse than saturated fat; it raises LDL and lowers HDL simultaneously.
Lim Ai Leng, the chief dietician of a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur, described trans fat as “about 10 times worse than saturated fat as a risk factor of cardiovascular disease”.
Dr A.H. Lim, a general health practitioner in the Klang Valley, said trans fat quickened the rate of ageing and increased the risk of birth defects in newborn babies.
“Malaysians are ignorant of its dangers because they don’t pay attention to these things.”
Most trans fat comes from margarine (especially hard margarine), bakery products that are made with shortening, and margarine or oils containing partially hydrogenated oils and fats.
These include local and imported cookies, crackers, instant noodles, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, muffins, croissants and potato chips.
The Health Canada website said up to 45 per cent of the fat content in these products might be trans-fatty acids.
Ai Leng said food which was labelled “low in trans fat” should not contain more than 1.5g per 100g (solids) or more than 0.75g per 100ml (liquids). And food labelled as “free of trans fat” should not contain more than 0.1g per 100g (solids) or not more than 0.1g per 100ml (liquids).

TrackBack URI

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: