69 Views

Why Being Able To Distinguish Between A Good And A Bad Fat Matters So Much

Food, nutrition and human health institutes around the world have been fighting to reduce the risks associated with consuming detrimental fatty acids that are linked to cardiovascular diseases. But few people know what fatty acids are, which ones are harmful or beneficial, and how to identify them.

Fatty acids are a component of the fat found in foodstuffs such as meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, snacks, vegetable oils and most spreads. There are both “good” and “bad” fatty acids.

On average, fatty acids make up about 45% of people’s daily calorie intake. This is much more than the recommended 20% to 35%.

Globally, the amount of fatty acids people consume is influenced by age, sex, country and region. Some reviews show that populations in Zimbabwe and Botswana consume too few “good” fatty acids. These make up less than 11% of their total daily energy intake.

Other studies have shown that young working-class adults in the developing world have high intakes of “bad” fatty acids – taking up more than 10% of their daily energy intake. This is similar to those in western countries.

The challenge is to improve dietary options so that fatty acid intakes are within the recommendations, which are set to help people reduce their risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases. These have been on the rise, especially in developing nations.

The reason for poor knowledge of fatty acids is simply due to not enough being done to improve awareness. For example, if fatty acids aren’t labelled, consumers can’t make informed decisions about the food they buy. In addition, a recent study around South Africa has shown that information is not the only deciding factor in the purchasing of foods. Cost also plays a role.

How customers make their choices

“Good” fatty acids include unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids. They are considered good because they help reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and cognitive decline. These are found in foods such as olive and flax seed oil, walnuts, seafood and fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna.

Saturated and trans fatty acids are considered bad. They have been clinically linked to increases in cholesterol levels and they increase the risk of several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart diseases and cancer. They emanate from increased dietary proportions of foods prepared using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, dairy foods, fatty and processed meat cuts, and lard. The consumption of these foods is increasing significantly among resource-poor individuals, and fast-food and ready-to-eat-food consumers.

To gauge people’s knowledge of fatty acids our study was conducted at grocery stores in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. A great many of the food products, such as meat and vegetable oils, carried information about “good” fatty acids, including the fact that they contribute to a healthy heart and blood system.

Shoppers were asked if they trusted brand adverts that highlighted the perceived benefits of “good” fatty acids. Opinions varied among demographic groups.

In high-end neighbourhoods most participants knew the function and health benefits associated with omega 3. They used this knowledge to choose food products. But in poorer areas like townships and villages only a few people knew of omega 3 fatty acids. They admitted to using this kind of information rarely when deciding what products to buy.

ALSO READ  5 Easy Ways To Add Variety To Your Healthy Diet

All those interviewed had one thing in common: they attested to the importance of television adverts. It improved their knowledge of food products and influenced their decisions to select food products that contained “good” fatty acids, especially in high-end neighbourhoods.

But none of the participants had seen an advert from the country’s national public health protecting agencies, such as the Public Health Association of South Africa. These bodies have the mandate to improve consumer awareness on health issues associated with fatty acids.

Although there is a strong inclination to promote “good” fatty acids, whose responsibility is it to explain the existence and dangers of “bad” saturated and trans fatty acids?

Protecting the public

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration has forced mandatory saturated fatty acids labelling on all packages to protect consumers.

Other developed nations, including those of the European Union, and Australia and Canada, have followed suit by promoting the voluntary reduction of “bad” fatty acids in food production.

But much remains to be done in sub-Saharan African states, where these fats have caused an unprecedented increase in cardiovascular diseases, which account for 11% of deaths on the continent.

There is no pressure on food producers to reduce fatty acids in food. In addition, there are limited regulations to force food producers or processors to label the type and amount of “bad” fatty acids on their products.

South Africa has a law that requires the labelling of trans fat in artificial “partially hydrogenated oils” and that it is kept at maximum of 2% of total energy. However, the maximum allowed fats are well higher than recommended levels (maximum 1%), exposing the consumer to health risks. There is very little public protection in other African countries.

In addition, consumers aren’t warned that cooking food in particular ways – such as deep frying – can change the fatty acid profile from “good” to “bad”.

Drastic changes in the advertising and labelling of foods are needed to improve awareness of the effects of processing and handling on the fatty acid quality of both raw and ready-to-eat food.

The way forward

The global economic downturn has directly increased the risks of food insecurity and nutritional inadequacy by reducing the quantity, quality and food choices of poor and vulnerable groups. This is particularly true for people living in sub-Saharan African countries.

Economic pressures have led to people shifting from traditional foods to cheaper and processed starchy, monotonous diets that are characterised by low micro-nutrient and high energy levels. In addition, foods prepared by re-used cooking oil have been reported in some establishments.

What this shows is that governments should prioritise the needs of poor consumers by running awareness campaigns about a safer fatty acid balance in their diets.

Food literacy campaigns are also important. These would help consumers understand more about fat and fatty acids.

The challenge is to improve nutrition and safety standards, while not destabilising access to food, through harsh penalties or obsessive labelling laws. The point is to reach a compromise that allows the consumer to make better and better-informed decisions.

 

Source: The Conversation

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

How I Fainted After Being Robbed By Okada Man In Lagos; Lady Narrates. [Photos]
Shocking
11 views
Shocking
11 views

How I Fainted After Being Robbed By Okada Man In Lagos; Lady Narrates. [Photos]

MT - January 20, 2018

A lady identified as Amarachi Azubuike, has recounted her horrific ordeal at the hands of a motorcyclist a.k.a Okada man who robbed her and threatened to rape…

Singer Simi Plays Chief Bridesmaid Role As Her Mum Remarries
Entertainment
24 views
Entertainment
24 views

Singer Simi Plays Chief Bridesmaid Role As Her Mum Remarries

MT - January 20, 2018

Early this year, there was a viral report that Ms. Jedidiah Ogunleye 'Love don't care' crooner,  Simi's mum will be getting married this January. Ms. Jedidiah Ogunleye and her…

Davido Buys iPhone For Friends To Celebrate The Release Of Umarudeen Kayode
Entertainment
39 views
Entertainment
39 views

Davido Buys iPhone For Friends To Celebrate The Release Of Umarudeen Kayode

MT - January 20, 2018

Dmw Boss Davido puts smile on alot of his crew member and friends Face by even going far to get them an iphone X just to celebrate…

Anti-open Grazing: Why APC Governors Are Begging Ortom To Reverse The Law
Politics
39 views
Politics
39 views

Anti-open Grazing: Why APC Governors Are Begging Ortom To Reverse The Law

MT - January 20, 2018

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State is under intense pressure to prevail on the state assembly to repeal the antigrazing law, which had become a sore point…

What Could President Buhari Have Told This APC Chieftain That Got Him This Way? (Photo)
Politics
38 views
Politics
38 views

What Could President Buhari Have Told This APC Chieftain That Got Him This Way? (Photo)

MT - January 20, 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari had this man laughing during the dinner hosted for APC Party Chieftains in State House yesterday.

Photos Of American-Nigerian Rapper, Jidenna Smoking Heavily
Entertainment
33 views
Entertainment
33 views

Photos Of American-Nigerian Rapper, Jidenna Smoking Heavily

MT - January 20, 2018

Caption This Adorable photo of Jidenna smoking Heavily Any caption?

Yewande Adekoya Celebrates Her 35th Birthday With Makeup Photos
Entertainment
37 views
Entertainment
37 views

Yewande Adekoya Celebrates Her 35th Birthday With Makeup Photos

MT - January 20, 2018

Actress Yewande Adekoya Stuns In New Makeup photos As She Celebrates 35yrs birthday Today. Yewande Adekoya (born 20 January 1983), is a Nigerian actress, filmmaker, director and…

Why Your Smartphone Can Make Emergency Calls Without A SIM Card
Technology
34 views
Technology
34 views

Why Your Smartphone Can Make Emergency Calls Without A SIM Card

MT - January 20, 2018

If you're an active mobile phone user, you will notice that your phone can actually make emergency calls without any SIM. I know you must be wondering…

PHOTOS: Inside Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Factory In Onna, Akwa Ibom
Best of Nigeria
29 views
Best of Nigeria
29 views

PHOTOS: Inside Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Factory In Onna, Akwa Ibom

MT - January 20, 2018

Today the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Charles Udoh led print, online and broadcast media professionals to see some of the achievements recorded in the…

World: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Girlfriend Enjoys Playtime With The Twins And Newborn Baby
Sports
34 views
Sports
34 views

World: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Girlfriend Enjoys Playtime With The Twins And Newborn Baby

MT - January 20, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez has shared a sweet snap of herself with twins Maria and Mateo and newborn daughter Alana Martina. Despite having her hands full…

I Spoke To Arsene Wenger About Iwobi’s Punishment After Misconduct- Super Eagles Coach
Sports
50 views
Sports
50 views

I Spoke To Arsene Wenger About Iwobi’s Punishment After Misconduct- Super Eagles Coach

MT - January 20, 2018

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed that he reached out to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over Alex Iwobi’s disciplinary issues earlier this month. Iwobi attended a…

My Experience At Port Harcourt Maximum Prison – Kemi Olunloyo
Entertainment
47 views
Entertainment
47 views

My Experience At Port Harcourt Maximum Prison – Kemi Olunloyo

MT - January 20, 2018

No one ever prays to go to prison; however, for the popular blogger, Kemi Olunloyo, 2017 is a year that she would likely not forget in a…

13 Steps To Help You Bounce Back From Betrayal
How Tos
36 views
How Tos
36 views

13 Steps To Help You Bounce Back From Betrayal

PH - January 20, 2018

  We suffer quietly through disloyalty from a partner, friend, or family member, but this embeds harmful emotions deeply into our being. Our trust in others erodes…

Residents of Ipoyewa community Laments 15yrs Blackout
General
36 views
General
36 views

Residents of Ipoyewa community Laments 15yrs Blackout

PH - January 20, 2018

Residents of Ipoyewa Phase 3, Adamo, Ikorodu area  of Lagos State have cried out to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to come and rescue them from total darkness. The…

Friends Of TY Bello’s Throws Her Suprise Brunch To Mark Her 40th Birthday (Video)
Buzz & Trends
49 views
Buzz & Trends
49 views

Friends Of TY Bello’s Throws Her Suprise Brunch To Mark Her 40th Birthday (Video)

PH - January 20, 2018

Nigerian singer, songwriter and photographer, Toyin Sokefun-Bello, better known as TY Bello turned 40 last Sunday, January 14, 2018, and she was surprised by family and friends to…

2yrs After Partial Stroke, Nollywood Actress Iyabo Oko Returns From India
Buzz & Trends
56 views
Buzz & Trends
56 views

2yrs After Partial Stroke, Nollywood Actress Iyabo Oko Returns From India

PH - January 20, 2018

Veteran Yoruba actress, Kudirat Odukanmi Eluyemi otherwise known as Iyabo Oko has finally returned to Nigeria 2 years after she was diagnosed with partial stroke and flown abroad by her eldest son…

Zainab Balogun Wants Her Future Husband To Know This
Entertainment
57 views
Entertainment
57 views

Zainab Balogun Wants Her Future Husband To Know This

PH - January 20, 2018

Zainab Balogun who relocated to Nigeria six years ago, says she doesn’t understand if something is wrong with Lagos men. Nollywood actress, Zainab Balogun who was born…

BBNaija Winner Efe And Olamide Shoot Music Video For Warri (Photos)
Entertainment
40 views
Entertainment
40 views

BBNaija Winner Efe And Olamide Shoot Music Video For Warri (Photos)

MT - January 20, 2018

Big Brother Naija 2017 winner, Michael Ejeba aka Efe and top rapper, Olamide aka Baddo, have shot the music video for the collaboration titled, `Warri,’ which was…

Loading...