Wednesday, December 11, 2013

PBS Interviews Dr. Prema Ganganna about Trans Fats

Last month, Dr. Prema Ganganna, Professor and Director of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science,was recently interviewed by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. The name may sound familiar to you because MacNeil/Lehrer is the production company behind the long-running series, PBS Newshour (formerly known as The Newshour with Jim Lehrer). Select excerpts from Dr. Ganganna's interview appear in the short video: "Trans Fat: The Hidden Killer," alongside Julie Greenstein, Center for Science in the Public Interest and Allan Javery, Executive Chef of the Arlington, Virginia based Copperwood Tavern. 
Paul Malkie of MacNeil-Lehrer interviews Dr.Ganganna.

In the video, Dr. Ganganna addresses the topic of trans fatty acids and their prevalence in today's food culture for the "The.News," which is a non-commercial, multi-platform news broadcast geared towards high school and middle school students. Every video feature, including the one on trans fats, has corresponding lesson plans that include discussion questions, activities and other educational content supporting social studies, language arts and science based curricula. 
The video can be watched on the PBS "The.News" website, where the transcript is also available.

Describing the experience of being a resource for PBS, Dr. Ganganna said: "My service as a teacher, mentor and program director is my passion at the local level. PBS, with its global reach, has inspired me to think about going to Africa or another part of the world where malnutrition is critical and helping to educate the public about the dangers of unhealthy eating habits and trans fatty acids."

The cameraman looks on.
Dr. Ganganna, who has been with UDC's Nutrition program since 1984 and has led the accredited program since 1987, explains the difference between good fats (HDL) and bad fats (LDL) and their relation to trans fats. The consumption of more than 2 grams of trans fatty acids a day increases the LDL, which increases the cardiovascular risk. Increased LDL becomes most prevalent during the holiday season, when the consumption of cookies, cake mix, icing and other trans fatty foods is especially high. She suggests reading labels and avoid foods that have partially hydrogenated fats.  

It is never too early to educate youth about what they cook, eat and consume, lessons they will retain and pass on to those around them. And perhaps, someday, those children may end up as future CAUSES students! 

Dr. Prema Ganganna can be reached at Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Scienceis a division of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. 

Keep reading for healthy cooking tips!

Dr. Ganganna's Holiday Cooking and Eating Tips 
  • Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables such as kale or fruit salad. 
  • Consuming leafy green salads and vegetable dishes cooked with vegetable oil and not with lard or butter, will provide fewer calories and less trans fats.
  • The same goes for lean-proteins, which should be trimmed of fat and served in smaller portions. 
  • When cooking vegetables, do not use broth or meats, which would increase the sodium. 
  • Stir fry, or  boil vegetables for a very short time to retain their nutritious content. Crunchy vegetables also retain their color and flavor more than overcooked vegetables.
  • Avoid processed margarine in cakes and cookies, instead add vegetable oil and fruits to improve the texture.
  • Use olive or canola oil for salad dressing with vinegar in lieu of salad dressing to avoid trans fats.
  • Avoid sour cream or butter, especially when eating baked potatoes, bread, dips, etc.
  • Start dinner with fresh salad as the first course. 
  • And of course, drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. 

A close up of some of the common trans fat offenders. Don't forget to read the labels!

No comments:

Post a Comment