FACTS ABOUT ‘FAT’

26 Jul 2018
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SME CORNER Expert column
Dr. Jeyarani T, Sr. Technical Officer (3),Traditional Food & Sensory Science, CSIR-CFTRI

There is a tendency of most of the individuals to point out at ‘fat’ for any negative health effects. However, it is an important ingredient in many food products, contributing to their functional, nutritional and organoleptic properties. Fat interacts with other ingredients in foods to develop characteristic mouthfeel and aroma. It acts as a heat transfer medium, allowing uniform heat in deep and shallow fat frying. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy supplying 9 Kcal/g as compared to 4 Kcal/g from proteins and carbohydrates. In addition, they serve as carriers for fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K and furnish the essential fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acids. Thus fats and oils play an important role in foods and human diet. One of the possible causes of negative health is the increased consumption of foods rich in fat. Dietary guidelines not only recommend to eat a moderate amount of fat, but they also recommend to consume the right type of fat.
In current scenario of increasing awareness on health, the challenge of the food industries is to manufacture foods containing fats as per the recommendations of various health agencies. The total fat (visible + invisible) in the diet should provide between 20-30% of total calories. Fats rich in medium chain triglycerides is a quick energy source suitable for infants, athletes and people with fat malabsorption disorders. FSSA, the regulatory body in India has permitted blending of two edible oils, restricted the amount of trans fats in hydrogenated fats to 5% and recommends 1% energy from trans fat and 10% energy from saturated fats. ICMR suggests to replace few saturated fatty acids with MUFA/PUFA to decrease the risk of CHD and to increase alpha linolenic acid content as it plays a critical role in retinal and brain development. WHO recommends higher intake of w-3 fatty acids and to maintain the ratio of linoleic acid to alpha-linolenic acid between 5:1 to 10:1. SME shoulder a greater responsibility in providing healthy fats in their foods and CFTRI offers warm welcoming hands in their endeavour to contribute to the welfare of the nation.