Be careful while choosing your cooking oil

Which Oil should one use?

  • Oil for cooking should not be overused as these release poly aromatic hydrocarbons which have been linked to cancer
  • The best stratergy is to mix up the consumption of different kinds of oils so that the body does not miss out on any nutrients
  • Cooking in Olive oil is dangerous as it has a very low burning point

Cooking oil is an important determinant of your health

A 2016 study by researchers of Cornell University had deduced that cooking vegetables in modern oils like Sunflower oil leads to excessive creation of Arachidonic acid which has been linked to cancerous growth. We ask the experts their opinion on this subject and which are the healthier options available for cooking.

Dr Jugal Kishore is the head of the Department of Community Medicine at Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. He explains why oils that is used for frying should not be overused “If one were to fry again and again in the same oil trans fatty acids go up and poly aromatic hydrocarbons are released which have been linked to cancer.  So oil used for frying should never be overused and changed according to proper duration” he says.

He feels that one should rely more of poly unsaturated oils(natural oils such as mustard oil, coconut oil etc) and consumption of trans fat ought to be kept low however in the long run one should mix up the consumption of various oils so that the body does not miss out on any nutrients.

Dr Jugal Kishore cautions against dependence on one variety of oil and stresses that the best option is to change the cooking oil from time to time. “Saturated fatty acids are not considered good. Animal fat contains higher saturated fatty acids than coconut oil, coconut oil in turn contains higher saturated fatty acids than Safola.  However if one keeps on taking unsaturated oil like Safola then after a point the body misses out on important saturated fatty acids which too are required. So the best option is that one should mix up different types of fatty acids required by the body” he explains.

Neha Upaadyhay is a Delhi based Macrobiotic Coach and Founder of Gunaorganics, she feels that use of palm oil and sunflower oils are not desirable. “Palm oil and sunflower oil both are toxic and increase the likely hood of cancer these are used commonly in fast foods for example Palm oil is excessively used in McDonald’s products”.

Neha feels that traditional cooking oils are best suited for Indian cuisine and climate and the sort of variety we possess in India must be explored and enjoyed. “The best oils to cook for Indian palette are Desi Kachchi Ghani kali peeli sarson ka tel (Coldpressed Organic mustard oil), Nariyal ka tel (Organic coldpressed coconut oil). During winters desi kachchi ghani til ka tel (coldpressed organic sesame oil), Moomphali ka tel (Groundnut oil) are advisable. We in India have a lot to choose from” she says.

She adds that the recent trend of cooking in Olive oil is harmful as Olive oil has a low heating point and burns “Olive oil has a very low heating point hence it is not fit for cooking, Olive oil, like apricot oil are to be sprinkled over salads or other food items.”

Dr Pallavi Vaishya Consultant Dietitian and Nutritionist at Kailash Hospital does not feel that vegetable oils like Dalda is  a very good health choice “Dalda is almost solid in room temperature hence it is particularly difficult to assimilate for the body, this would create toxins”. She too concedes that Olive oil is not meant for cooking but points out that processed version of Olive oil and canola oil are some of the most healthiest oils for cooking.

Nandini Gulati is a Health coach, nutritional expert and author of ‘Guilt Free Vegan Cookbook feels that no oil can be designated as being good for health and people should learn to cook without oil. She advises avoidance of vegetable oils “Research has been conducted into this matter and it is documented that tumors have increased with the intake of vegetable oils” she says.

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