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Reduce harmful fats as part of a healthy diet.

Byline: Ask Sam

Sam Montel is the Food Standards * Agency's online nutrition expert and a registered public health nutritionist.

She will be answering a different question about healthy eating every week. To find out more about food, visit the Food Standards Agency's website at Q What are hydrogenated fats and trans fats? A Hydrogenation is one of the processes that can be used to turn liquid oil into solid fat.

The final product of this process is called hydrogenated vegetable oil, or sometimes hydrogenated fat.

It's used in some biscuits, cakes, pastry, margarine and other processed foods.

During the process of hydrogenation, trans fats may be formed. This means that foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oil (always declared in the ingredients list) may also contain trans fats.

The trans fats found in food containing hydrogenated vegetable oil are harmful and have no known nutritional benefits.

They raise the type of cholesterol in the blood that increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Some evidence suggests that the effects of these trans fats may be worse than saturated fats.

So, as part of a healthy diet we should try to reduce the amount of foods we eat that contain hydrogenated or saturated fats and replace them with unsaturated fats.

And it's also important to reduce the total amount of fat we eat.

Foods that are high in fat include: * biscuits * cakes * pastries * meat pies * sausages * hard cheese * butter Foods containing coconut or palm oil all tend to be high in saturated fats, so try not to eat too much of these.

Foods that are rich in unsaturated fats include: * oily fish * avocados * nuts * sunflower, rapeseed and olive oils.

Trans fats are also naturally found at very low levels in foods such as dairy products, beef and lamb..
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 5, 2009
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