Ban trans-fats in restaurants, doctors write to PM Modi

Consumption of trans-fats causes weight gain, heart problems and even diabetes. Doctors have now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda to ban this unhealthy fat in restaurants.

Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), a non-government organisation working in the area of health, has noted that the demand to ban this fat would help the common man.

FDA directive

“This request follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban of artificial trans-fats from American restaurants and grocery store food items recently. The FDA deemed trans-fats unsafe in 2015 and gave companies to eliminate the ingredient till June 18, 2018,” the letter noted.

Trans-fats have been a staple in the tastiest junk foods for more than 100 years. The FDA ban applies to artificial trans-fats, which are made chemically by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated oil is also trans-fat).

Shelf life increases

Trans-fats increases the shelf life of packaged foods, and restaurants like to use it as oil for deep frying because it does not need to be changed as often as other oils.

K.K. Aggarwal, president, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “The FDA’s move to provide an ultimatum to ban trans-fats in American restaurants is a highly welcome move and should be replicated with immediate effect in India as well.”

The health effects of these are not unknown but consumption in various forms continues, particularly when it comes to eating out.

Chemical reaction

The letter noted that trans-fats are a by-product of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid.

Trans-fats lowers protective cholesterol and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels.

Trans-fats are created by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. This changes the chemical structure of the oil, turning it from a liquid into a solid.

The process involves high pressure, hydrogen gas, and a metal catalyst — and the end-product is highly unsuitable for human consumption.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 10:52:53 AM |

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