Guiding Light of The Month

Tell me, wilt Thou grant me the marvellous power to give birth to this dawn in expectant hearts, to awaken the consciousness of men to Thy sublime presence, and in this bare and sorrowful world awaken a little of Thy true Paradise? What happiness, what riches, what terrestrial powers can equal this wonderful gift! - The Mother

Walking in Light

The January write-up drew response from Mr Dhana, our former walk co-ordinator and a well respected figure in our circle who walks his talk in health management. Mr Dhana highlighted two points related to BMI:

• That the indices for the Caucasian and Asian have been revised accordingly, keeping in mind the different average body frames, mass/weight and height of these groups.

The revised and universally accepted figures endorsed by the World Health Organisation for Asians is as follows:

BMI

Underweight..................Below 18
Normal..........................18 - 22.9
Overweight....................23 - 27.9
Obese............................28 and Above

• That the fat test may be a more reliable aid to ascertaining one’s health condition, as already discussed in the column in the previous issue of the newsletter.

It is becoming more and more compelling that the rate at which fats accumulate in our body ought to be taken with due seriousness. This issue and the next few will examine the nature of fat metabolism in the body, the accumulation of fats in and around our body parts and the consequences of such accumulations that cross the threshold level.

What are fats? Fats are organic compounds that belong to a group called lipids. They are made up of the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are both in the liquid and solid forms. The basic building blocks of fats are fatty acids, which may be either saturated or unsaturated fatty acids.

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as milk and milk products like cheese, butter, ice-cream and in fatty meat. Some vegetables such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils contain saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats contribute towards the increase in blood cholesterol level.

Unsaturated fatty acids are found in most liquid vegetable oils, except those mentioned earlier. Some examples of these sources are olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean oils. These help to lower blood cholesterol levels if used in place of saturated fats. However, it should be born in mind that unsaturated fats are high in calories as well.

The other types of fats are trans fatty acids and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fatty acids. Trans fats form when vegetable oil hardens. These fats are known to increase the level of LDL (Low Density Lipids) - bad cholesterol and lower the level of HDL (High Density Lipids) - good cholesterol. Fried foods, commercially baked goods, processed foods and margarines contain trans fats. Hydrogenated fats refer to oils that have hardened (butter, margarine). Hydrogenated fats contain a high level of trans fatty acids.
- Jayanthy
Reference

• The New England Journal of Medicine Medicinehttp://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199008163230703
• The US National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002468.htm

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