Vanaspati is prepared by hydrogenation of vegetable oil which is solid at room temperature. It has a better shelf life, physical properties, flavour, and stability. It possesses a significant amount of trans fatty acids and it is believed that it is associated with risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some amount of fats is essential for the body, but a high amount of it can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
In this article, we are discussing the side effects of vanaspati. It is advised to avoid the over consumption of vanaspati.
1. Heart diseases
Over consumption of trans fatty acids is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease because trans fatty acid elevates the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. As per the direction of the WHO, the amount of trans fats in the meal should be less than four per cent. A study suggests that in India, more than 40-50 percent of trans fatty acids are present in Vanaspati.
2. Breast cancer
Saturated fatty acids are considered as harmful substances for the body as they increase the total and LDL cholesterol levels. However, small- and medium chain saturated fatty acids, like those found in coconut oil are not harmful as they do not alter the serum lipids. Whereas, trans fatty acids present in Vanaspati can cause undesirable effects on serum lipids, resulting in a high risk of heart diseases.
3. Vision problems
Long-chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid are associated with the growth and development of vision as well as the nervous system in a foetus. A study suggests that trans fatty acids inhibit the formation of linoleic acid from its precursor which may cause deficiency of good fatty acid that may cause vision problems in infants.
Over intake of trans fatty acids may cause deposition of abdominal fat and increase weight gain. Therefore, it is recommended to use a limited amount of Vanaspati in daily life.
Trans fatty acids alter the normal functions of the cell membrane and cause insulin insensitivity that result in diabetes. Also, the low intake of trans fats for a prolonged period may also be related to the risk of diabetes. A study suggests that insulin insensitivity due to trans fatty acids is more with respect to those caused by unsaturated fats.
6. Nervous system disorders
Trans fats may cause adverse effects on the brain as well as nervous system. They may get deposited in the cell membranes of the brain and may affect the ability of neurons to communicate with each other. This causes micro-failures in the brain functioning and increasing the risk of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression. Minimum consumption of vanaspati can lower the risk of cognitive decline as well as nervous system disorders.
Over consumption of trans fatty acids is associated with an increased risk of allergy such as asthma, eczema and allergic cold. This occurs especially in children over 13-14 years of age.