Here’s what you need to know about the ‘super villain’ of fats.
Fat plays an important role as a source of energy, cushioning of vital organs, and as a transport system for fat soluble vitamins. However, fat should make up no more than 30-35% of our total energy intake.
According to the 2018 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), there has been a rise in Singaporeans’ fat intake from 28% in 2004 to 35% in 2018. This is a cause for concern, as fat is calorie dense, and any increase in fat intake may result in weight gain and obesity.
There are four types of fat in our diet: polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, saturated fat and trans fat. The table below explains the differences in the 4 types of fat.
*Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol is commonly known as the “bad cholesterol”. LDL-cholesterol gets deposited in the walls of blood vessels resulting in blockages, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.+High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol is commonly known as the “good cholesterol”. HDL-cholesterol helps to mop up cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it back to the liver, subsequently reducing the amount of cholesterol deposited in the walls of blood vessels.
Among the four types of fat, trans fat is perhaps the fat less talked about. A high consumption of trans fat is worrying. Not only does it increase your LDL-cholesterol, it also decreases your HDL-cholesterol. Given the dangers of trans fat, it is therefore important to look at how to limit your intake of trans fat.
Trans fat is formed when unsaturated fat undergoes hydrogenation. There are two sources of trans fat: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fat. Naturally-occurring trans fat can be found in some meat and dairy. However, only small amounts are present. The primary and more significant source of trans fat in our diet is artificial trans fat; found in foods such as hard margarine, solid shortening, commercial deep-fried foods as well as baked goods. Food companies like to use trans fat, as it is inexpensive, easy to use, stable at high heat and gives food a longer shelf life.
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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