Say NO to trans fat to live with a healthy heart

Say NO to trans fat to live with a healthy heart

Say NO to trans fat to live with a healthy heart

For years only nutritionists and cardiologists knew about trans fats – the meanest of all fats. This fat is the heart’s worst enemy and different research starting from the early 1990s raised the alarm bell for the harmful effects of trans fats which are also known as partially hydrogenated oils. On this World Heart Day, when the world is already reeling under a pandemic, we cannot afford an impending one – coronary heart disease, whose effects could be as threatening as the current one.

Over the years, several studies have shown an association of Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This is because TFA increases the level of LDL which is bad cholesterol and decreases the level of HDL or good cholesterol. The situation gets aggravated for elderly people who have other co-morbidities. Dr Col Sitaram, Cardiologist, Apollo Secunderabad, suggests elderly citizens who have some form of heart ailments to have a nutritious meal with adequate proteins. He also suggests to “avoid having snacks that are fried in oil because they may contain a lot of trans fats which are bad for your arteries.” Dr Rajeev Gupta, Professor Cardiology, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal also advises all to have a ‘trans fat free diet’ as it will have a positive long term effect in protecting our hearts and arteries.

If we look back, we will see WHO had already warned countries on devastating health consequences NCDs (non-communicable diseases) pose ‘for individuals, families and communities, and threatens to overwhelm health systems and one of the leading NCD in India is cardiovascular diseases. The socioeconomic costs associated with NCDs make the prevention and control of these diseases a major development imperative for the 21st century.’ Noncommunicable diseases account for almost 70 per cent of all deaths worldwide.

Moreover, heart ailments are linked to several factors which includes hypertension, tobacco and diet. A number of studies both in India and in the US has shown that heart ailments have a direct link with the intake of trans fatty acids (TFA).

Why trans fat?

Notably, partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced into the food supply in the early 20th century as a replacement for butter and became more popular in the 1950s. Industrially produced trans fatty acids are convenient, cheap and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture which is loved by many. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial businesses.

According to a study named-‘The Changing Patterns of Cardiovascular Diseases and Their Risk Factors in the States of India: the Global burden of Disease Study 1990-2016’, deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in India increased from 1.3 million in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2016. In another study of September 2018, published by the Lancet, cardiac diseases killed more Indians in 2016 (28 per cent) than any other non-communicable disease.

WHO has flagged off this as a major disaster for the future and its control program REPLACE lists out the basic control measures. Food Regulator in India Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also issued a draft notification on eliminating chemical trans fats in food by 2022. India has already successfully limited its trans fat content in fats and oils by has 5 percent and declared that it plans to implement a cap of 2 percent by 2022, a year ahead of the WHO deadline. With this, let’s hope the much-needed awareness related to this deadly fat reaches farther and to the remotest part of the country.

Media Dialogue on Hypertension Management and Elimination of Trans Fatty Acid in Telangana

Media Dialogue on Hypertension Management and Elimination of Trans Fatty Acid in Telangana

Media Dialogue on Hypertension Management and Elimination of Trans Fatty Acid in Telangana

Consumer VOICE along with MD NICHE organised a workshop in Hotel Hyatt, Hyderabad on 25th September, 2019 to sensitize the media in Telangana on managing Hypertension and Cardiovascular Diseases. The workshop also highlighted the importance and the role of Telangana government in regulating and eliminating trans fats from food items.

While delivering the keynote address, Smt Shanti Kumari, Principal Secretary (Health, Family Welfare) and Food Safety Commissioner, highlighted the three pronged strategy adopted by the state government. It included early screening of Hypertension among the masses through the outreach program and then followed by dispensation of secondary and tertiary medical care. The workshop was also addressed by Dr K Shankar, Director, Food Safety, Telangana and Dr Gangadhar Taduri, at NIMS Hyderabad & Technical Advisor to Minister of Health, Telangana. Both made informative presentations highlighting the efforts of state government on regulating trans fats, which has become a silent killer all over the world.

The technical session was addressed by Dr K. Sarat Chandra and Dr (Col) Sitaram, senior cardiologists in Hyderabad and nutrition experts Dr. Kamala Krishnaswamy Ex Director NIN and Dr Eram S Rao, University of Delhi. They highlighted the rising number of deaths due to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India which has increased from 37% in 1999 to 61% in 2016. Over 77,000 deaths annually occur due to trans fat consumption. Consumption of trans fat should be the major cause of concern for Indian policy makers coming from Health and food sector. The workshop also highlighted possible solutions for industries to replace trans fatty acids from the Indian market. The noted speakers also spoke about the role of changing lifestyle and including physical activities in our daily routine and changing our food habits for reducing the burden of NCDs such as Hypertension and Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs).