Fats in animal products are mostly saturated fats, while fats in plants and some seafood are mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Trans fat is unsaturated fats. Industrially-produced trans fats is produced when oil is converted from liquid to semi-solid by adding hydrogen. This process is called the "hydrogenation process". Food manufacturers often use this process to extend the shelf life and taste of food.
Trans fat comes primarily from fried and baked foods made from or cooked with hydrogenated vegetable oils. Cow and sheep milk and fats and their products (e.g. whole milk and tallow) contain small amounts of natural trans fat. Foods that may be made from hydrogenated vegetable oils include: margarine, shortening, biscuits, crisps, cookies, French fries, cakes, salad dressings, pies, and non-dairy milk powder.
Trans fat increases the body's LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) while reducing HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Heart disease ranks third among the most common fatal diseases in Hong Kong.
Both saturated fat and trans fat increase "bad" cholesterol in the body, increasing the risk of heart disease, while trans fat reduces "good" cholesterol. We should choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats for healthy diet. The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization recommend that trans fat intake should be kept at very low levels - less than 1% of the body's daily energy intake. An individual with a daily intake of 2 000 kcal, for example, the daily intake of trans fat should be less than 2.2 g.
We can Reduce Trans Fat Intake By:
- Read food labels carefully, choose foods with less trans fat, and avoid foods with hydrogenated vegetable oils or hydrogenated fats as ingredients.
- Avoid cooking or preparing foods with hydrogenated oils and fats.
- Maintain a balanced diet, eat less fried and high-fat foods.
The most important principle is to maintain a balanced diet, and special attention should be paid when choosing low-fat and high-vegetable dishes. You can choose foods prepared by low-fat cooking methods such as steaming, roasting.