Scmp The Mainland Agrees Trans Fats Are Dangerous Must Be Reduced In Foods
Sunday, November 21, 2010Health problem piling up on everyones plate CHANGING FACESFiona TamNov 21, 2010The mainland is considering regulating widely used trans-fats in its food industry after itemerged that the cheap ingredients are casting a shadow on the health of tens of millionsof citizens every year. Chen Lianfang , senior analyst of the dairy industry at BeijingOrient Agribusiness Consultant, talks about the partially hydrogenated oils that can befound at everyones dining table.Are trans-fats widely used in the food industry?You can find trans-fats everywhere, in margarine, doughnuts, cakes, ice cream, biscuits,instant noodles, hamburgers, French fries, milkshakes, coffee and milk tea and in almostevery Chinese restaurant. Trans-fats are a legal ingredient. More than 70 per cent offood products available on the mainland contain them. As far as I know, only veryexpensive products and luxury five-star hotels use butter rather than hydrogenatedvegetable oil, which contains trans-fats, in cooking.Trans-fats are formed when vegetable oil is partially hydrogenated [has hydrogen addedto it] and becomes semi-solid. They have been widely used in the food industryworldwide for more than 100 years, but scientists have proven that consuming trans-fattyacids brings risks to human health.The mainland is estimated to consume 30 to 40 tonnes of trans-fats every year. In thelatest survey conducted by the General Hospital of the Peoples Liberation Army, 95 percent of the best-selling fast food and baked products, 90 per cent of ice cream and 71per cent of biscuits contained trans-fats.Why does the food sector use trans-fats so much?Because hydrogenated vegetable oil is an inexpensive alternative to butter and palm oil,costing only half the price. It has the right consistency to replace animal fats such asbutter while extending the shelf life and flavour stability of the food. Also, very fewmainland dairy companies make defatted milk products because of limited demand, soalmost all the butter sold on the shelves is imported and expensive.
Can consumers determine the amount of trans-fats in food?No, because the mainland does not require manufacturers to list trans-fats on thenutrition panel, although many other countries do make trans-fat labels mandatory.Customers can only check the ingredient list to see if the product contains hydrogenatedoils.How many grams does the average person consume daily?According to the Ministry of Health, the average person consumes 0.6 grams of trans-fats per day, but many city dwellers are estimated to take in a much higher amount - 2 to3 grams. Research shows that the mainlands consumption of baked items and fast foodis growing 7 to 9 per cent every year, and people are eating 70 per cent more trans-fatsthan two decades ago.The World Health Organisation suggests an adult should not consume more than 2grams of trans-fats per day, which equals the amount found in 50 grams of biscuits or200ml of milk tea.What are the health risks?Scientific research proves trans-fatty acids can raise the level of "bad" LDL cholesterolwhile reducing "good" HDL cholesterol, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease,diabetes and obesity, as well as affecting normal growth in children.Because so many trans-fats are consumed, the number of patients with cardiovasculardisease or diabetes have risen sharply in recent years. The International DiabetesFederation says the mainland has 92.4 million diabetics, while cardiovascular disease isone of the most common fatal illnesses.Why is the Health Ministry much slower than other countries in dealing with theproblem?The mainland is still developing and cheap hydrogenated vegetable oil is allowed to beused in producing food in place of expensive butter. The urgent task is to remove trans-fats from food consumed by children. Young children should not consume any artificialtrans-fats; they should eat natural animal fat.Chen Lianfang talked to Fiona Tamhttp://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=97d6321d81a6c210VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=China&s=NewsPlease contact us for 3 Oils that are Trans Fat free and a High Oleic Canola that has the lowestpossible trans fats for a oil using Hydrogenation.
What are trans fats?Trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils tomake them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils." Look for them on theingredient list on food packages.Food-based fats generally fall along three lines: saturated, unsaturated and trans fat. Broadly speaking, saturated fatsare found in meats and other animal-based foodstuffs. Saturated fats are not especially healthy, but the body cantolerate modest amounts. Unsaturated fats occur naturally in vegetable-based oils and some seafood. Most unsaturatedfats are considered very healthy, because they do not collect in the bloodstream and help reduce levels of LDL (bad)cholesterol found in saturated fats. The final category, trans fat, has become very controversial in recent years.Trans fat shares many of the same characteristics as saturated fat, including the negative effect on cholesterol levelsand the tendency to clog arteries. However, the base of many trans fat products is vegetable oils, which ordinarilyprovide healthy unsaturated fat. Trans fat is the result of an artificial process converting vegetable oil into a morestable form of shortening. Instead of using a saturated fat product such as butter, food companies often use trans fatproducts like Crisco or margarine.Trans fat is created through a process called hydrogenation. Ordinary vegetable oils are placed in tanks with a reactivemetal such as cobalt. Hydrogen gas is bubbled through the oil until the entire contents partially solidify. The resultingproduct is called partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, since the hydrogenating process is stopped before the oilbecomes completely saturated with hydrogen. There are some commercial examples of fully-hydrogenated vegetableoils, such as a form of Crisco shortening intended to replace the less healthy partially-hydrogenated variety.The process for creating trans fat was created around the turn of the 20th century and has been a source of controversyever since. The introduction of such consumer-friendly products as margarine and shortening were embraced by thepublic at first, since they replaced fats which often became rancid and unusable. Warnings against the prolonged useof margarine and other trans fat products were largely ignored or downplayed by the food industry. From a businessstandpoint, trans fat shortenings allowed convenience foods to be produced inexpensively, and with an increased shelflife.Why do some companies use trans fats?Companies like using trans fats in their foods because they’re easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last along time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use transfats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers.How much trans fat can I eat a day?The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent ofyour total daily calories. That means if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories shouldcome from trans fats. That’s less than 2 grams of trans fats a day. Given the amount of naturally occurring transfats you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fats.Trans Fats NewsUpdated:Thu, 5 Aug 2010 4:07:00 PM
Trans fats have been in the news for years, but many of these news stories cover just the “tip of theiceberg.” The American Heart Association would like to give you the whole picture, taking you behind theheadlines of some top trans fat news stories. FDA Mandates Trans Fat LabelingStarting in 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all foodand beverage makers to list the trans fat content of packaged foods on theNutrition Facts panel. Companies have to list any measurable amount of trans fat(0.5 grams or more per serving) in a separate line in the “Total Fat” section of thepanel, directly beneath the line for “Saturated Fat.”This means if a food package states “0 gram of trans fats,” it might still have sometrans fats as long as the amount per serving is less than 0.5 gram. Check theingredients list for “partially hydrogenated oil.” If partially hydrogenated oil is listed,the product includes trans fats. And if you eat more than one serving of thatproduct, the amount of trans fats you consume could add up quickly andexceed the recommended limits.The FDA regulation applies only to packaged foods, not foods served in restaurants, grocery stores orbakeries. Associates Recommends Americans Limit Consumption of Saturated Fats and Trans Fats In 2006, the American Heart Association issued its latest Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. Theyrecommend that you limit the amount of saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your total daily calories, trans fatsto less than 1 percent of total daily calories, and cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day. Food Manufacturers Market “Trans Fat-Free” Foods In recent years, many food manufacturers have undertaken extensive reformulation efforts to dramaticallyreduce the amounts of trans fats in their foods. As a result, many food packages now show zero trans fat on theirlabels and are marketed as being “trans fat-free.”
But foods labeled trans fat-free aren’t necessarily healthy. Check the food label to make sure these trans fat-freefoods aren’t high in saturated fats. Also, foods high in calories and/or low in nutritional values (not containingmany beneficial nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals) are probably still this way after reformulation, andso should be eaten only in small amounts. Restaurants Go “Trans Fat-Free” in Their Deep Fryers Many major national fast-food chains and casual-dining restaurant chains have announced that they will nolonger use trans fats to fry or deep-fry foods. Many smaller local and regional restaurant chains have madesimilar announcements. This is a positive step but it doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited fried foods. Most friedfoods contain lots of calories, regardless of the frying oil used. Also, if trans fats are replaced with saturated fats,the calories remain high – and keep in mind that saturated fat raises your bad cholesterol. Cities and Counties Phase out Trans Fats in Restaurants One of the most important developments has been the New York City Board of Health’s decision to phaseout trans fats in city restaurants. The board’s regulation requires restaurants to limit the amount of trans fats inoils, shortenings and margarines used for frying or in spreads. Effectiive July 2007, restaurants must use lessthan 0.5 gram per serving. The regulation also requires that, effective July 2008, restaurants limit the amount oftrans fats to less than 0.5 gram per serving in all food items not sold in the original manufacturer’spackages. Since then, legislative and regulatory efforts to restrict trans fats have been proposed and adopted inother major cities and counties. Effective January 2010, California phased out trans fats in restaurants statewide.