Refined oils and the myth they carry

Since our childhood, we have been hearing about cooking oils. It was dalda (hydrogenated vegetable oil) earlier, which was freely used for cooking food and I remember the blue plastic can and the yellow plastic container it used to come in. It definitely made the food tasty. Then came the recommendation that dalda is not good for heart and it was soon replaced by vegetable oils.

Oils are liquids at room temperature. Hydrogen is added to oils in order to make them more solid, or ‘spreadable’. Hydrogenated oils can be sold directly as ‘spreads’ and are used in processed food like cookies and cakes to extend the shelf life and maintain the flavor.

Sunflower oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, groundnut oil, corn oil etc. was seen in every kitchen and then came one liners like, “apke dil ki umar badhaye”, “Dil par control, khane par nahi”, etc.

We have been fed with wrong information on fats and oils and people still do not know what to use and what not to. Which oils are best for high temperature cooking? Which fats are the healthiest? What are saturated fat? These are some of the questions that are still lurking in everyone’s mind. And then comes the classic one, “Acha bhalaa healthy aadmi tha, ek dum se heart attack aa gaya”, and the doctors say that the arteries were severely blocked. If the arteries are blocked, how can Mr X be a healthy acha bhalaa insaan.

Laboratory tests conducted by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on 21 different brands of refined vegetable oils soybean, sunflower, groundnut, mustard, coconut, olive, sesame and palm have found that almost all of them have trans fat levels well within limits permitted in the US and Denmark. These limits say trans fat in oil should not exceed 2% of the total oil. Tran fat are not the problem, the problem is healthy fat and bad fat.

Doctors say that saturated fat is bad and vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are good and heart healthy because they contain little to no saturated fat. Let me remind you that these doctors took just about one class in nutrition and that too about 20 years ago. Moving ahead, doctors say that to prevent heart diseases and lower cholesterol, we need to consume more of these PUFAs.

Chiropractors and health experts from around the world say that these recommendations are wrong. The foods that we have been told to eat in order to avoid disease are the real villains and cause inflammation, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Read on to know which fats to consume and what to take off your list totally.

 

No, vegetable oils are not good

Am sure you have a jar or a bottle full of vegetable oil in your kitchen as you read this. That oil was not the way it looks now when it was extracted from its source. It was deodorized so that it doesn’t impart any flavor or smell into your food and this is certainly going against nature. Sunflower oil is not smell-free, it is made that way and so are all other oils you are using right now.

The stuff is toxic, put it in the drain right away. The fake butter spreads like margarine should never ever be wasted money on. It is better to eat a little bit of butter rather. You use them because they are low in saturated fat.

Framingham heart study (quiet famous) proves that the more saturated fat you consume from natural sources, the lower the serum cholesterol. Natural fats do not use any chemicals for getting processed. An interesting observation is that out of people who have heart attacks, just about 25 per cent have raised blood cholesterol levels.

The doctor’s recommendation about using PUFA does not fit the bill as vegetable oils actually contribute to the inflammation that leads to heart attacks. It is because they are highly chemically processed. Due to their unstable molecular structures, PUFAs are very responsive to light, heat, and air.

These oils become rancid as they get chemically processed and this leads to free radical damage and inflammation in the body. The deeper problem is that these oils come from extremely low quality genetically modified foods. Those crunchy fries you get in McDonalds are fried in canola oil, which is known to cause heart lesions but it is used in the USA as it has a high smoke point. These vegetable oils are very high in the pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids.

During the hunter gatherer age, the omega 3:omega 6 ratio was more or less 1:1, which is the ideal way. But, surprisingly, most of the oils we use these days are around 1:22. This means too much of omega 6 and this causes inflammation and cardiovascular risk.

What Omega 6 in excess does to your body

Apart from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it causes inflammatory intestinal issues, cancers, asthma, auto-immunity diseases, infertility, high-blood pressure. And, no doctor will tell you to change your cooking oil if you visit one for infertility, hormonal imbalance or asthma.

Processed Vs unrefined oils

Almost all oils have to undergo some extraction process, you can opt for minimally processed or unrefined oil that has no deodorization and no chemical hexane extraction done. Virgin oils are the best as they are close to their natural forms.

Do not eat this

Totally eliminate corn oil, canola oil, all vegetable oils, soybean oil, margarine and “spreads”, dalda, safflower and sunflower oils.

Eat this rather

Saturated fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil. Also, do a variation in the fats you eat. Did you know that coconut oil is excellent for metabolism boosting because it contains medium chain fatty acids that enhance metabolic activity. Ghee and butter are excellent for the gut. You will realize that eggs made in coconut oil or butter will make your feel full sooner and for longer than eggs made in any refined vegetable oil. Try it in breakfast tomorrow and let me know.

Naturally occurring saturated fats are good for cooking and you are free to use them liberally. They are extremely essential for brain, hormonal, cellular health, energy and feeling full.

Use olive oil, avocado oil and sesame oil for dressings as they have a low smoke point. These are monounsaturated fats are high in omega 6 and 9. Also, use them sparingly as compared to saturated fats.

Vegetable oils contain more plant toxins and tend to run rancid when heated.

And, the most important of all, add a supplement containing omega 3 and 9 to your diet like the cod liver oil or salmon oil capsules.

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