Fat dangers from cakes and pastries

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Eating a piece of butter cake will take up 84 percent of the daily trans fat limit recommended by the World Health Organization, the Consumer Council has found.

The watchdog, along with the Centre for Food Safety, tested 75 samples of baked products – including puffy pastry, cream soups, pies, tarts, cookies, cakes and Chinese pastries.

Nineteen of the samples were found to contain industrially produced trans fat of more than 2 percent of the total fat content.

There is no law regulating the use of trans fat in food in Hong Kong, but the watchdog referred to the standard in Denmark, where the limit is 2 percent for the ratio of industrially produced trans fat to total fat content.

The center said it will look into overseas regulations before deciding whether legislation is necessary to regulate the use of trans fat in food.

An adult should not take more than 2.2 grams of trans fat a day in a 2,000-kilocalorie diet, the WHO recommended.

But the council found a butter cake sample from St Lolan Bakery in Sai Ying Pun contained 0.62 grams of trans fat per 100 grams, and one piece of the butter cake would take up 84 percent of the daily trans fat limit.

One piece of signature mille crepes from Lady M in Causeway Bay and a piece of butter cake from Maria’s in Ma On Shan would also take up 27 percent of the daily trans fat limit.

The test found puffy cream soup samples had the highest average amount of trans fat.

Among the 16 puffy cream soup samples, the one from Cafe 360 in Sham Shui Po contained the highest level of trans fat at 1.7 grams for a bowl of soup with puffy pastry, which made up nearly 80 percent of the daily limit.

Almost half of these 75 baked food samples were “high fat” food, with more than 20 grams of total fat per 100 grams.

Henry Ng Chi-cheung, principal medical officer at the center, said excessive trans fat consumption can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Trans fats, no matter whether they are industrially produced or naturally occurring, can increase the bad cholesterol level. This bad cholesterol level can block the blood vessels,” Ng said. He added that trans fats would also reduce the good cholesterol level.

“This good cholesterol level can protect the wall of the blood vessels from being blockage.”

He added: “The two effects together means that there is a more increased risk of the blood vessels being blocked, so there is an increased risk of the cardiovascular disease like the heart disease, and other blood vessel diseases, for example, stroke, can also occur.”

Ng said the center realized that the level of trans fat in food products in Hong Kong had not improved compared with a study in 2012.

He advises consumers to limit the consumption of baked or fried food and snacks which contain industrially produced trans fat and to read the nutrition label when buying prepackaged food of the fat and trans fat content.

For manufacturers, Ng said they can use healthier oil such as peanut oil and corn oil, and choose ingredients without partly hydrogenated oils.

Source:  thestandard.com.hk