Sydney Morning Herald…March 19, 2012
CAN you have your cake and eat it? Not if you want to reduce the fat in your diet. The Heart Foundation is working with councils to reduce the levels of unhealthy oils and fats in the food chain.
Working on the supply side of the food chain was an effective way to influence how food was produced and consumed to reduce the 34 per cent of Australian deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, Penny Milson, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said.
”We know that coronary heart disease is essentially preventable,” she said. ”A lot of Australians eat way too much saturated fats but they aren’t thinking about – when they purchase meals outside the home – what the fat and saturated fat content might be.”
Up to a quarter of meals come from takeaway outlets, cafes or restaurants and there is a push to educate retailers to use less oil and better types of oil rather than replacing it altogether.
”What the Heart Foundation recommends is not that we remove fat out of our diet, [but] that we replace the unhealthy ‘sat’ and trans fats with the healthier poly- and monounsaturated fats.” This means canola oil and olive oil are better than palm, coconut, beef, tallow and cotton seed oils.
The organisation and a handful of councils in Sydney and the Hunter region are tailoring ways to change the way food outlets buy and prepare and market ingredients.
Tim Gill, the associate professor at Cluster for Public Health Nutrition, applauds the approach, saying it is a smart way for councils to take advantage of their jurisdiction over food preparation to impose healthy guidelines.
”Ultimately, most of the food preparation occurs locally,” he said. ”It is within council jurisdiction where food is prepared.”
His only caveat is that consumers are increasingly aware of the health issues related to fatty and fried foods but overlook baked goods.