7 July 2007: Breast Cancer Survivor Diet Update II

As a follow up on the May issue of the ‘New Diet Information for breast cancer convalescents (Serial No. 1), dietitian Mr. Wong Chi-wing, head of the food and nutrition department of Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, took the subject further to give an explanation on the issues relating to ‘Trans Fat’ and ‘ Phyochemical’.


Self Photos / Files - 01s     Self Photos / Files - 02s

Who is Mr. Trans Fat?

It is said that vegetable oil would constitute a state of ‘trans fat’ if and when being partially hydronized to result in a change of the structural expression of part of its fatty acid’s hydrogen molecules. It is said that the special characteristics of ‘trans fat’ include prolonging food preservation, enhancing palatable feeling and stabilizing the taste of fat oil.

According to WHO, the amount of ‘trans fat’ should not exceed 1 % of the food consumed by grown ups. Mr. Wong Chi-wing explained that ‘trans fat’ would impact our body, destroy good cholesterol, increase the bad ones and elevate the risks of stroke and coronary heart diseases. Therefore, it is important to reduce the content of ‘trans fat’ in the food we take or steadfastly say ‘no’ to ‘trans fat’.

Hong Kong stops short of Lawful Regulation

Lawful regulation of food labeling started in 2003 in many places all over the world. Under such law, it is stipulated that food merchants are required to set out in no uncertain terms the portion of ‘trans fat’ contained in each of the food items at issue. For instance, Denmark is the first country in the world to make it a legal offence to allow any food item to contain ‘trans fat’ in excess of 2 %. In Canada, ‘trans fat’ is totally banned, and in US since 2006, the content of ‘trans fat’ in food must be clearly labeled. But in Hong Kong, the content of ‘trans fat’ is not yet regulated as the Government still needs more time to study and examine the issue.

According to Mr. Wong Chi-wing, even home cooking may bring about a ‘trans fat’ latent risk. It is therefore suggested to use less oil in cooking, or shorten the time for deep-frying or sautéed; and better still to stop the recycling use of cooked oil.

The nick-names of ‘trans fat’ are enlisted below for ease of reference:
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Hydrogenated Fat
Hardened Fat
Hardened Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Shortening

Mr. Wong continued to advise that food without ‘trans fat’ is definitely healthier and more consumer friendly. At the same time, consumers are advised to caution against the content of saturated fat because assimilating fatty acid in excess would likely increase the risk for contracting heart diseases. Saturated fat exists normally in animal skin, fat structure, in cooking oil extracted from animals and also in some processed food items. The WHO has recommended that for grown ups, the saturated fat assimilated in a day should not exceed 10% of the overall calorific capacity.

Phytochemical may decompose into Carcinogenic substances

The second part of the Forum deals with ‘phytochemicals’. In the context of the Forum held in the previous month, Mr. Wong Chi-wing pointed out that the content of phytochemical in vegetables is an anti-oxidant, which can strengthen the immunity function as well as reducing cancerous elements. But what is ‘phytochemical’? It is in fact a natural substance in vegetables created for self-protection. It contains a great amount of anti-oxidant vitamins to fight against hanta virus, bacteria and fungus. Hence, the absorption of ‘phytochemical’ into the human body may interrupt the growth of cancerous cells and hormones. With the immunity faculty vitalized, this would in turn lower the chance of developing cancer and disintegrate cancerous elements. The phytochemical per se could also prevent body cells from being unduly oxidized.

Different types of plants contain different species of phytochemicals, which include beta-carotene, flavonoids, indoles, isoflavones,tea-polyphenols and allicin etc etc.

Anti-Oxidant Menu
porridge + linseed
 Lunch/Dinner (1):
Boiled salmon with braised mixed vegetables (onion, green/red chilly, pumpkin, tomato, garlic mash) coupled with tomato juice with coarse rice.
 Lunch/dinner (2):
Fried broccoli with garlic mash, asparagus, red beans, chicken, heart bean, spinach + buckwheat noodle.
Hot bean milk, fresh blueberries + low fat cheese.


Speaker’s Profile:
Mr. Wong Chi-wing is a dietician of Hong Kong Adventist Hospital. He studied food and nutrition in the United States and received professional training in cardiology and diabetes in a number of hospitals in California. Mr. Wong was registered as a qualified dietitian in the United States of America.

In 2003, Mr. Wong received cancer training in the Medical Center of the SF California University, which is one of the ten biggest hospitals in the United States. 

At present, Mr. Wong is a Member of Nutrition Society of the United States. He is also a Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association Limited and was the vice chairmanship of the Association from 2002-2003.