VEGA News Item

Transformations in Dietary Fats - 20/08/2010

Reinforce Saturated Warnings

1. Butter is next for a ban: Shyam Kolvekar, a leading heart surgeon of University College London Hospital, is leading a campaign to reduce saturated fats in diets after treating patients as young as 33 years for heart bypass operations. As the FSA launches the 2nd stage of a campaign to boost awareness of the dangers of saturated fat Mr Kolvekar says that reduction in line with government recommendations could prevent at least 3,500 deaths a year. "By the time I see people it's usually too late, but the frustrating thing is that often the need for heart surgery could have been prevented by following a healthier lower saturated-fat diet," states Mr Kolvekar. He is confirming results from the Finnish Karelia Project and the connections of heart disease, obesity and intakes of animal fats (some of which seem to be less harmful than trans-fats).

2. Very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids ("vitamin F"), fish oils, algal and GM soya oils, and vitamin D concentrate anew on fatty and fishy topics on nutritional and environmental health. We hope to remedy those gaps soon. Some of the trans fats surpass saturated oils and fats in the risks to health they cause. Palm oil is another component exciting controversy, particularly to do with the environment. The origin of the old adage that "fish is good for the brain" remains a mystery, although dietary intakes of some very long-chain omega 3 examples seem to protect marker proteins reducing the effects of aging.

3. The British Heart Foundation does not endorse bans but warns that "official figures could be masking the true extent of trans fats that some people are eating, putting their health and arteries at risk." It wants "better labelling to tell consumers how many trans fats are in products they plan to buy." Food manufacturers are currently not obliged to declare trans fat content on labelling.

4. The food industry's trade association has rejected Dr Kolvekar's call. Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the Food and Drink Federation insists, "our members have voluntarily made such significant progress in reducing trans fat levels in their products that I feel that the proposal to introduce legislation is not justified." She added: "Food producers' voluntary actions had led to average UK intakes falling to 1% of total energy and they were committed to making further reductions in levels of trans fats." The British Retail Consortium says that its members - which include Sainsbury's, Tesco and Iceland - had fulfilled pledges made in 2006 to remove trans fats from their own-brand foodstuffs.

5. The modified fats are found particularly in bakery goods such as pastries, cakes and biscuits. New processes are being devised, such as transesterfication, to overcome some of the objections to manufacturing processes involving the suitability of bakery products that spoil efforts at establishing frugal and austere - and "healthy" - objectives in achieving low calories-in to calories-out ratios in cookery.


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