Keep trans fat off your frying pan, says MoH nutrition unit

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds


THE Community Nutrition Division of Health Services Department of the Ministry of Health (MoH) is advising the public to cook their meals in unsaturated and plant-based liquid oils instead of cooking oils that are high in trans fat.

In an email interview with The Brunei Times, the division said cooking oils are estimated to be 99 per cent fat, which makes them very ‘calorific’.

This means excessive intake may lead to weight gain, which can further lead to long-term health issues as each gram of fat gives nine kcal of energy, which is higher compared to only four kcal for each gram of carbohydrate and protein, said the Community Nutrition Division.

The MoH is advising consumers to replace their cooking oil for healthier options.

These oils include olive, canola, sunflower, corn and soya bean, as these oil can help reduce risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, said the ministry.

The ministry’s Community Nutrition Division added that even though oils are considered a fat, the fat in some oils is healthier compared to others.

All oils contain a combination of three fats – monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated fats and trans fat.

The MoH said monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are categorised under the ‘good fats’ which can improve cholesterol levels, aid in reducing inflammation and can stabilise heart rhythms.

These fats are normally found in plant-based oils like avocado oils, pumpkin seeds, almond oils, canola oils and flax-seed oils.

Studies say that heating up vegetable oils lead to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Aldehydes are an organic compound which yields acids when oxidised and alcohols when reduced.

Research show “a typical meal of fish and chips”, fried in vegetable oil, contain as much as 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit set by the World Health Organisation.

In contrast, heating up butter and olive oil produced much lower levels of aldehydes, while coconut oil produced the lowest levels of the harmful chemicals.

The health ministry said not all oils can withstand the heat of cooking and every cooking oil releases different amounts of chemicals depending on its kind.

Choosing the right oil with the right smoking point becomes imperative, it added.

Smoke point, it said, is the temperature at which oil begins to smoke continuously and can be seen as bluish smoke.

As part of healthy eating, the ministry is also advising the public to limit deep fried dishes to twice a week, as frequent consumption can lead to weight related diseases.

The Brunei Times