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What is your opinion, Jomo: Does the government not have a responsibility to promulgate dietary laws to protect our health? Should there not be an organization responsible for regulating the amounts of oils, fats and salt fed to the public?

In the absence of dietary laws, Ghanaians are condemned to a life-threatening diet incorporating vast seas of cooking oil and mega-tons of salt and fats.

The pressures of modern day living are such that many working people buy their meals on the go from traditional eateries, restaurants and road side vendors. Sometimes you taste food purchased from eateries and vendors and clasp your hand to your lips, wondering if someone has emptied the Dead Sea into your mouth: SALT! Super concentrated sodium chloride straight from the chemistry laboratory!

The health authorities never miss every opportunity to urge the public to cut down on salt consumption, often warning of the grave health risks in consuming too much salt, yet there is no law to stop food sellers packing cooked food with unbelievable amounts of salt.

Cooks fry eggs, fry chicken, fry fish, fry yam, fry rice grain, fry plantain and, believe it or not, fry fried oil, by which I mean that even oil that has already been used in frying food is used again and again. 

We are really in big trouble Jomo! How do we explain in kitchen language comprehensible to house-wives and chop bar keepers, the life-threatening and complex physiochemical processes which take place in both the oil and the food being fried? 

“Hallo auntie Afua, the food in this chop bar is delicious papapa, but the oil is too-o-o much! When you fry oils high in saturated fatty acids, hydro-peroxides and trans-fatty acids are formed. They in turn, form free radicals and other undesirable substances which cause cancer and other killer diseases.

A likely response: “ Hey, Papa Krachie, what are you trying to tell me..?” That is why the health authorities must step in, because fats, oils and salt are killing our people by the dozen by the minute, to the extent that 60 per cent of adult deaths in the republic today are caused by cardiovascular diseases and it is all because of this suicidal national obsession with a diet packed with salt, fats and oils.

I must confess that like many people, my palate craves pork, fried eggs, generous lumps of cooked goat and those big, fat juicy sausages, but the doctor says they make up a lethal banquet for those who want to hasten their days. I have learnt the very hard way that these do, indeed, pack heavy amounts of life-threatening substances.

Undoing all the harm done from binging on all the grimy stuff and unwittingly piling my system with large amounts of cholesterol over the years to appease a ravenous palate, is easier said than done, but the doctor says I can give it the good old try first by cutting down on foods high in saturated fat and bad cholesterol, sticking religiously to a healthier diet and exercising regularly.

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