What are the recommendations as regards saturated fatty acids in diet?
What about unsaturated fatty acids?
Monounsaturated fatty acids have a favourable effect on HDL Cholesterol, which is good cholesterol. Replacing saturated fatty acids or carbohydrates by unsaturated fatty acids will help. PUFA lowers the bad cholesterol LDL.
How are Polyunsaturated fatty acids classified?
These are either obtained from plant foods, where they are known as n-6, or n-3 when obtained from fish and fats. The Omega 3 fatty acids do not reduce cholesterol levels but they decrease stroke and cardiovascular disease. The recommended intake is 20-25% daily energy intake from PUFA/MUFA sources.
What are the American Heart Association recommendations for omega 3 fatty acids?
The plant-derived omega 3 fatty acids are seen in Tofu and other forms of soybeans, walnuts and flaxseeds and their oils and canola oil. All adults who take non-vegetarian food should have fish at least twice a week. Oily species are preferred. Omega- 3 fatty acid capsules containing fish oil are strongly recommended. Omega 3 fatty acids are cardiovascular protective and are strongly recommended for hypertensives and those with coronary artery disease.
What about butter and ghee?
They have high saturated and monounsaturated fat content. A large number of protective substances are also present. Milk derivatives such as curds, buttermilk are cardiovascular protective. Consumption of homemade ghee, butter and buttermilk are recommended. The quantity of ghee and butter should be restricted to 3 teaspoons daily. Ghee consumption can be encouraged only for physically active individuals. Ghee is not recommended in sedentary individuals.
What about trans fatty acids in vanaspati and in fried foods like samosa, vada noodles, bhatura etc? Indian fast foods and some snacks and western junk foods like burgers, pizza, doughnuts contain a high amount of trans fatty acids and may increase the degree of atherosclerosis. These snacks should be consumed sparingly.
What is the fatty acid composition of commonly used cooking oils?
Oils that are rich in saturated fats are coconut oil, butter, palm oil, lard, cottonseed oil and thus should be used very sparingly. Saturated fats are low in Canola oil, safflower oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, olive oil, soya bean oil, rice bran oil and should be allowed. Peanut oil is at an intermediate level in terms of risk and benefits.
Which is the best edible oil?
In terms of real health benefits and the medical research and evidence that is considered flaxseed, mustard, canola and olive oil are the most important. Rotation of oils every month, or a mixture of oils is recommended. Reuse of oils is not recommended as the trans fatty contents in them are detrimental for health. Moderate intake is recommended. Reducing the quantity of oil in those who are obese, post-heart attack or post paralysis individuals is strongly recommended.
Author: Dr Jay Deshmukh
Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.