Foods That Are Dangerous For Your Brain: Beware of These Fatty Food Items

Fat is an essential macronutrient with a range of importance, including insulating the body, helping us absorb vitamins and acting as an energy store. We all need to consume fat, it is an essential part of a balanced diet.

Although foods can contain a mixture of different types of fat, like saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Anam Golandaz, Clinical Dietitian, Masina Hospital, Mumbai says, “While there are healthy and unhealthy sources of Dietary fat (fat in foods and drinks). You should be aware of unhealthy sources of fats like fast foods, whipped cream, fatty meats, fried foods, fatty snacks, processed meats, desserts, fatty salad dressings, and animal fats. It is advisable to limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat – such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried food, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.”

Golandaz further adds, “Our body needs healthy fats for energy and other functions.”

Without a doubt, fats and cholesterol are the single most important group of nutrients to limit in our diet if you want to help to reduce your risk of chronic disease and to be healthy. Heart disease, diabetes and cancer, this nation’s leading killers, are linked to diets high in fat, and other chronic health problems may be exacerbated by high-fat diets.

Too much-saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in blood vessels. Also, saturated fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, high-fat diet consumption is a leading cause of obesity, hypertension and other metabolic diseases.

Ecologic studies over the past 30 years have demonstrated the correlation of greater dietary fat intake with higher mortality due to various cancers, especially colon, breast, prostate, and ovary cancer.

While even healthy fats have calories – and need to be eaten in moderation in a calorie-controlled diet. you’ll avoid most of the pitfalls if you get your fats from healthy food sources like avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and other plant oils and in fatty fish like salmon.

Dr Eileen Canday, Head Of Department Nutrition and Dietetics, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai says, “Trans-fatty acids are a type of fat that can have a detrimental effect on brain health. While trans-fatty acids occur naturally in animal products like meat and dairy, these are not of major concern when consumed in moderation. The industrially produced trans-fatty acids, also known as hydrogenated vegetable oils, are a growing area of concern. These are widely found in margarine, shortenings, frosting, chips, and bakery products like cakes, biscuits, and cookies. Studies have found that higher consumption of trans-fatty acids is linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, poorer memory, lower brain volume and cognitive decline.”

Calorie tracking while consuming food, in general, may be helpful to keep your healthy weight in check. It can help you identify which eating pattern you need to be mindful of to maintain a healthy weight. Craving for sweets? What will you choose?

Dr Canday says, “The type of food you consume is important to maintain a healthy weight. Not all calories derive the same benefits.”

The energy that we get from chocolate doughnuts is referred to as “empty calories” which means that the calories are derived from sugar and unhealthy fats and this outweighs the nutrients found in the food leading to weight gain whereas date-nut ladoo will provide calories along with added nutritional benefits.

Alternatives to some commonly available fatty foods:

  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, mithais, khari

Alternative: Dark chocolate, yoghurt chia pudding, fruit and nut butter, date-nut ladoos, granola bars

  • Packaged snacky foods (refined flour crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, fried chiwdas, chakli, aloo bhujia)

Alternative: Nuts, khakhra, brown rice cake, millet crackers, roasted chana, makhana

  • Margarine, vegetable shortening

Alternative: Banana puree, mashed avocado, coconut oil

  • Fried foods (French fries, bhajiyas, vada, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)

Alternative: Baked vegetable chips, besan khandvi, dhokla, sukha bhel, appam