Fats / Lipids

Trans Fat: Easy to gain, hard to lose

The most unhealthy type of fat is trans fat, as trans fat increases the bad cholesterol level (Low-density lipoprotein) while reducing your good cholesterol level (High-density lipoprotein). Diet with high intake of trans fat is strongly linked to the blood vessel and heart diseases. There are so many negative impacts comes along with intake of trans fat which lead to a ban of artificial trans fat in all foods product in Singapore by Health Promotion Board starting from June 2021.

What is trans fat?

Natural trans fat: Trans fat can be found naturally from certain dairy items and meat in a small amount. However, the effect of trans fat found naturally will be harmful or benefits to your body is still unknown.

Artificial trans fat: During the food processing, the manufacturer will add hydrogen into vegetable oil which results in the oil turn to solid while at room temperature. Food cooked with this oil will have a greater shelf life.

Major sources of trans fat:

  • Deep-fried foods: chicken nugget, fries and doughnuts
  • Snack: popcorn, potato chips and chocolate bars
  • Baked products: cakes, biscuits and pies
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Margarine and vegetable shortenings
  • Convenient meals: Instant noodles and frozen pizzas

Ways to cut down on trans fat intake:

  1. Go through the food nutrition label carefully and buy the product option with no or lowest saturated fat
  2. Avoid the purchase of snacks and junk food
  3. Eat more vegetables and fruits and cut down on red meats as they contain natural trans fat
  4. Pick healthier cooking oils like sunflower and olive oil
  5. Buy products with Healthier Choice Symbol

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Reference: Healthhub.sg.2020. 5 Things to Start Doing Now That Artificial Trans Fat Has Been Banned [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/2067/5-things-to-start-doing-now-that-transfat-has-been-banned

Mayo Clinic. 2020. Trans Fat: Double Trouble For Your Heart. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114>

Is Saturated Fat Bad for health?

Do you know that there are different types of fat that can have different impacts on your health? Both saturated fat and trans fat are unhealthy fats, which are normally in solid-state while in room temperature. A diet with a high intake of saturated fat will lead to stroke, heart disease and other health issues. This is due to saturated fat will increases ‘bad’ cholesterol level (known as LDL-cholesterol) in your body.

Major intakes of saturated fat are from:

  • Animal fat: meats with skin, fatty cut of meat and sausages
  • Deep-fried dishes: fries, fried chicken and onion rings
  • Coconut: coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut oil
  • Full-fat dairy foods: butter, yogurt, cheese, milk and ghee
  • Dishes cooks with palm-based oil
  • Dessert: chocolate, cake and ice cream

How much saturated fat can you have?

According to Health Promotion Board, the recommended intake of saturated fats is no more than 21g every day for a healthy man aged from 19 to 60 years old while for a healthy woman is no more than 17g a day.

How to reduce saturated fat in your daily intake?

  • Read the food nutrition label and pick the option with lowest saturated fat
  • Limit your deep-fried food intake, steam, boil or bake your food instead
  • Pick the leaner part of meat such as chicken breast or beef tenderloin
  • Go for reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products such as non-fat milk or low-fat cheese
  • Cook with olive or canola oil rather than butter

Subscribe to our health blog via the green tab on the bottom left of our website so that you can stay updated to our fitness, nutrition tips and many more. Stay tuned for our upcoming lucky draw event ❤

Reference: fats, F., 2020. Facts About Saturated Fats: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Medlineplus.gov. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000838.htm#:~:text=Saturated%20fat%20is%20a%20type,high%20amounts%20of%20saturated%20fat

Healthhub.sg.2020. Fat Matters [online] Available at: <https://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/Categories/Chronic%20Illness/FatMattersEnglish.pdf>

Debunking Myth of Fat

Are all fats bad for health?

There are 4 types of dietary fat, and each type of fat have different effects on health.

Based on a journal article by Skerrett and Willett, 2012, ‘dietary fat per se is not associated with risk of chronic diseases’; diet consisting 40% calories from fat can be healthy if they are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. To date, the specific proportion of optimal dietary fat intake is still unknown.

Consume walnuts and fatty fishes like salmon for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that may aid in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Introduction to Fat

Most people think of fat as ‘bad’, but do you know that our bodies cannot function properly without some fat? Fat function as an energy store, a cushion for vital organs and act as a transport carrier for fat-soluble vitamins – Vitamin A, D, E and K. Fats are also needed for healthy hair and skin! However, fat is a concentrated source of energy – 1g of fat equates to 9 kcal compared to 4 kcal for carbohydrates and proteins, and high intake of fat provide excess calories, leading to weight gain and obesity, thereby increasing the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes.

How much fat should I eat?

Based on the Dietary Recommended Allowance in Singapore, the total fat intake should be limited to 25 to 30% of total calorie intake. This equates to 55 to 65g of fat for a person with a 2000kcal diet.

How many types of fat are there?

There are 3 major types of fat – saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat. Each type of fat will be described in detail in future health articles.

Do you know?

Look out for the Healthier Oil Label issued by Health Promotion Board across our outlets!

Reference: Healthhub.sg. (2018). Getting the Fats Right!. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/458/Getting%20the%20Fats%20Right!