Dr Suneetha Sapur
I have a weakness for freshly baked biscuits that are available in bakeries in Hyderabad. However, I’ve been advised to avoid them as they are not very healthy. But I don’t understand why? Are these biscuits high in fat?
Unfortunately, the food items that are tasty are not always very healthy. Yes bakery biscuits have a high fat content and are also prepared with maida and sugar. If you look at it 95 per cent of it contains only calories and no other nutrient is present in significant amounts. So it is not healthy and excess eating can lead to weight gain.
Apart from high fat content and empty calories most of the bakery biscuits are prepared with vanaspati. Vanaspati is prepared by hydrogenation of vegetable oils. During hydrogenation, the liquid oils become solid because the mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids are converted, into saturated fatty acids and isomers called fatty acids. ie groundnut oil or sunflower oil are hydrogenated so that they become solid like ghee or butter. Vanspati is used as a substitute for ghee in cooking and the preparation of bakery products, sweets and snacks. The hydrogenation process produces trans fatty acids, which are not good for health and it may lead to heart diseases and various health problems. Therefore, it is essential to limit the intake of bakery biscuits. Ideally, the intake of trans fatty acids should not exceed 2 per cent of energy intake.
(The writer is the director of Akkshaya Foundation and a consultant nutritionist at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad)