By Radhika Narang:
Just the smell of the lip smacking fried food like the Mc Donald fries samosas makes our mouth water and such snacks are often consumed as evening snacks. These snacks have huge amounts of salt in it which not only leads to bad cholesterol but can affect our heath severely. Fried food is filled with saturated fat and unwanted calories that causes belly fat and obesity. It also clogs arteries that can lead to heart attack. Fried food also increases blood pressure and problems with joints. Vanaspati oil, which is commonly used to fry the samosas or other snacks by the shop owners, deprives the cells of oxygen causing respiratory distress eventually leading to cancer.
Most of these foods contain high amounts of Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs), particularly if cooked in vanaspati (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) which is often preferred for its low cost and longer shelf life. TFAs can adversely affect cholesterol levels, predispose the individual to diabetes, coronary heart disease and may also affect many of the body organs. Despite their harmful effect, the reason why food manufacturers frequently use them is because TFA containing oils can be preserved longer, they give the food the desired shape and texture and can easily substitute ‘Pure ghee’. Further, these are comparatively far lower in cost and thus add to profit/saving.
While some developing countries have laid down norms for TFA content of food, India has yet to pass/implement the regulation regarding the TFA containing fats or the TFA content of commercially prepared food items. There are both pros and cons of having warning labels on fried foods. It sharpens the awareness of the public and lets them know how unhealthy the food really is and makes them think before they eat. This would make people healthier overall.
On the other hand obese children could be healthier by consuming healthier food than rely on just take out. Also warning labels have been on cigarettes for decades yet people smoke anyways then why would it be any different for fried foods? People would eat them anyway. Therefore, the responsibility lies with the consumers to safeguard their interest. They should try and consume healthier snacks, lead an active lifestyle and maybe once in a while indulge in fast food as everything is good in moderation and maintain a healthy balance is the key.