Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Government Should Ban TransFat

One of my issues with process food is the usage of transfat in the food preparation. I have written extensively on transfat, otherwise known as hydrogenated fat so much that i get turn off whenever I read them in the food label or preparation and often skip the food, no matter how delicious i know the food to be. To start with, I've written an article on transfat here.
Just one of the many transfat available out there
While i previously had written about transfat in the form of "fake butter" and the danger of hydrogenated oil. I realised my writing was a bit too vague and too technical that it does not explain in laymen terms why this item should be avoided at all cost. What sparked off this re-visit was the conversation between myself and Ib after our 5km HIIT performed last Saturday.
Roti Canai and Teh Tarik, Are They Bad?
My short answer to that was a big YES. While i had previously consumed these in my diet (being Malaysians), there is nothing to look forward to eating these food. We do not make Roti Canai the way it used to be. While processed white flour has always been used, the Ghee, due to the price, has been phased out and replaced by usage of cheap oil and the even cheaper margarine. Now, that is a whole load of transfat that goes into one piece of peasant food that will make you poorer (with health bill) over time! For the record, Ghee is made from butter. low controlled heat is used to melt butter until a clear translucent liquid is obtained. When allowed to cool, it will turn golden yellow and can be used for food preparation and medicinal (ayurvedic) purposes. That is a story for another day.
I exercise, hence the Transfat stand no chance.
Wrong. The conception that just because you exercise and you will burn all these transfat away is not entirely true. While there are many literature stating that it is of no differences than "fat" and will be metabolised (i.e. burned off) like any fat, my own research and other research on the internet says otherwise. To better understand transfat in the context of an approved literature, you can read the Food and Drugs Administrative (FDA) here : transfat
If that is not convincing enough, World Health Organisation or WHO has done a scientific study to tell you that transfat has been confirmed to "adverse effects on blood lipoprotein profiles and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk impacting individuals and populations."
The low down here
But I am Skinny. I've been indulging and I have high metabolism
Fats do not only present itself physically and it will still affect your internal organs. Your arteries are often hard hit by these and you would not see anything wrong until it is too late. To reiterate, transfat does not burn off or will get burn off because you ahve high metabolism. transfat is "foreign" to the body. Saturated fat (from animal sources) stand a better chance being burned off due to metabolism and exercise than transfat. 
Damn, Is it too late?
Perhaps not. Studies has shown that transfat will "go away" when you stop eating them. This is due to the body regeneration of cells as it dies off, fats included. However, if the diet has been consistently laden with transfat, two, maybe more years of transfat free diet will be required. To start with, stop consuming food filled with them, or cooked using transfat. They include all sort of fastfood, junk food, "healthy" food and any food. The secret to it is to learn to read the label. 
Personal Grocery Shopping
Here is how to avoid and this advise is free. To ensure a transfat Free living, 1. Do not buy anything unless it says ZERO transfat.
2. Do not buy anything that has these words in them: Hydrogenated (fully, partially), Shortening (or vegetable shortening) and margerine.
Only exception to this is the usage of Palm Oil in the food product. However, beware as not all "palm oil" are created equal too...that, again, story for another day.
How Now Brown Cow?
Why is the government (of Malaysia), despite knowing this, not banning the food containing such? Malaysia at festivities are notorious for using Margerine as ingredients for cookies and shortening for bakings. A good question that perhaps, only the Minister or the Government can answer. For your info, many states in the US has banned the usage of transfat in food preparation. The choice, cleary, is YOURS. 

My family had made their choice. Hope yours will be soon.

ps-want me to list down common Malaysian food laden with transfat?


  1. My goodness, one of the main culprit would be Margerine Planta, aggresively being advertised on the TV... No wonder Roti John too is sinfully yummy... Must refrain from now on... Goshhh...

    1. Painfully delicious too isn't it? My last margarine was almost...5 years.

  2. do want! please list it down stupe!

  3. I'm thinking of what to spread on the outer part of the bread (homemade bread, ehem :P) for the grilled cheese sandwich that my kids love. All these while I use the Naturale brand, thought it was a 'healthier' choice compared to Planta and such. Now I'm faced with the How Now Brown Cow question ...

    1. Just use butter, SCS, Tatura is a good start. :) Other items such as peanut butter from Adams, Sanitarium is also good. :) If in doubt, read the label. :)