Study notes high-trans-fat levels in food products in campuses

ISLAMABAD   -   A recent study conduct­ed by the Food Technol­ogy Department at the University of Karachi has shed light on concern­ing levels of industrially produced trans-fats (iT­FAs) in commonly con­sumed food products in university cafeterias. The study, sponsored by Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) under the TRANSFORM Paki­stan campaign, aims to address the health risks associated with trans-fat consumption and advo­cates for regulatory mea­sures to improve food quality and safety.

The study focused on assessing the nutrition­al composition of the five most consumed food items served in various cafeterias across univer­sity campuses, with a particular emphasis on trans-fat content.

The findings revealed that Paratha, a staple food item consumed by students, contained trans-fat levels beyond the 2 percent limit de­fined by the WHO and the PSQCA.

Parkash Meghwar, the lead researcher of the study, highlighted the ur­gency of addressing the issue: “The presence of high levels of trans-fats in commonly consumed food products such as parathas on campus pos­es a serious threat to the well-being of the stu­dents. Immediate ac­tion is needed to regu­late trans-fat content in all food items and ensure the provision of healthi­er alternatives.”

Speaking on behalf of PYCA, Huma Jehangir, Program Implementation Lead said, “This study conducted at the Univer­sity of Karachi is one ex­ample of how young peo­ple are responding to the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign and actively highlighting the urgency for regulating industri­ally produced trans-fats to less than 2 per cent of the total fat in all foods across Pakistan.”

Dr. S.M. Ghufran, Assis­tant Professor, Depart­ment of Food Science and Technology, Univer­sity of Karachi, while commenting on the situ­ation shared, “Based on the study findings, im­plementing regulations to limit the presence of trans-fats in our dietary sources and curbing the use of partially hydrogen­ated vegetable oils, a ma­jor source of trans fats, is essential to protect public health in Pakistan.”

PYCA, as the sponsor of this research under the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign, is committed to engaging media and youth across the coun­try to advocate for reg­ulating iTFAs in dietary sources.

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