cooking oil

Refined oil: making you sick every day?

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Do you know refined oil can give you dozens of diseases. Yes, as oil is one of the most important things in every kitchen. Mostly, refined oil is used for cooking now a days. We use it almost in every recipe.

“Most companies just want to sell their products to make money. That’s it. You need to understand what is best for your health. Please do not convinced with their emotional or motivational advertisement.”

Yes, I will let you know all about refined oil in this article. I will let you know the dangerous effects of refined oil and how it is making you sick every day. Do not worry because at the last of the article I will also provide you the solution for it.

What is cooking oil?

Basically it’s a type of fat which derived from Plants, animals and synthetically as well. On room temperature it is usually in liquid except few which contains saturated fat. Mainly it is obtained from-

Oils from plant: Mustard oil, Olive oil, Peanut oil, Palm oil, Sesame oil etc

Oil from animals: Butter, Clarified butter (Ghee), Lard

Chemically processed oil: Refined oil, Hydrogenated oil

cooking oil

Types of fat/oil/fatty acid:

Mainly it is of two types as below-

A) Saturated Fat:

This is composed of Glycerol and fatty acids chains have all single bonds. It mainly found in fats from animal sources like cheese, butter, cream etc. Few of vegetable oils are also rich in saturated fats like coconut oil, palm kernel oil.

It is present in high amount in whole milk dairy products, pizza, sausage etc. WHO also released guidelines to reduce intake of saturated fats to reduce risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Click here to read.

B) Unsaturated Fat:

It consist of fatty acid chain with double bonds. It is mainly divided in two categories-

1) Cis fat isomers:

An Unsaturated fatty acid with double bond in cis isomer. It is present in high amount in fatty acids from natural sources. It is found in olive oils, Soybean oil, rice bran oil, palm oil and other vegetable oils (usually liquid in room temperature).

Cis isomers can be healthier than saturated fats. FDA recommend its consumption should not be more than 30% of total calorie intake daily.

2) Trans fat isomers:

An Unsaturated fatty acid with double bond in trans isomer. It occur in small amount in nature. Mainly it is produced by industries for snacks, packaged food, fried food, fast food, junk food etc.

Consuming trans fat increase risk of coronary artery disease by enhancing Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL, known as Bad cholesterol). Trans fat also decrease the level of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL, known as Good Cholesterol).

Cis unsaturated fats are converted to trans fat by partial hydrogenation which converts cis double bonds to trans double bonds by iso-merization with the help of catalyst.

Trans fat

How to check risk of coronary artery disease:

There are two accepted methods are-

Cholesterol ratio: Higher ratio of LDL/HDL is worse.

C-reactive protein: Higher level of C-reavtive protein is bad

Harmful effects of Trans fat on health:

 It has many bad effects on health. Click here to know in detail.

  • Risk of coronary artery disease
  • Increase in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Risk of cancer and diabetes
  • Increased risk of obesity and Liver disease
  • Skin problem like acne

What is refined oil:

We can say it processed oil as well. Natural vegetable oil undergoes various chemical and non chemical process to obtain edible oil in specific characteristic of color, odour and flavor.

“I use to call it spoiled oil because in most cases after refining there are very less or no characteristic of oil are present and the process spoiled its quality as well if partially hydrogenated.”

Process of extraction and refinement:

1) Extraction- It’s the process of removing the oil from seed or nuts. This is first step to obtain any kind of oil. It can be achieving by below methods-

Extraction with solvent– Usually commercial extraction is done by this method because of high yield and lower cost. The solvent widely used is hexane.

Hexanes are mainly obtained by refining the crude oil. It is toxic in high amount as inhalation of n-hexane at, 2500-1000 ppm for 12 hours can cause drowsiness, loss of appetite, fatigue, 5000-2500 can cause muscle weakness, blurred vision, 5000 ppm for 10 minutes can cause vertigo. Safe limit is 100 ppm/8 hours.

“In human body n-hexane is bio transformed via omega oxidation and converted to 2,5-hexanedione, which is a neuro toxic substance.”

Extraction by mechanical process- Expeller– Seeds or nuts are squeezed with high pressure to obtain oil. Machine used are screw press or Ghani or cold press (at low temperature to avoiding heating of oil).

It is the best method for extraction because it does not include any chemical process. Also, avoiding high temperature will not change the properties of oil. It is good for health as well.

Extraction by centrifuge- With the help of high rotation and separate the oil part.

Extraction of cooking oil

2) Hydrogenation- It’s a chemical reaction with hydrogen in the presence of catalyst like nickel or platinum. This process converts the liquid oil into semi solid or solid fats. Partial hydrogenation results in trans fat production which is cheaper and also have increased stability and shelf life. But it can cause circulatory disease.

3) Distilling: to heat the oil which evaporate the chemical solvent but the high heat can alter the properties of oil.

4) Deacidification: also known as Neutralization. To extract out the phospholipids and waxes by reacting with sodium hydroxide or Sodium carbonate.

5) Bleaching: To remove colour by treatment with activated carbon and then heating, filtering and drying.

6) Deodorizing: To discard unwanted odors and flavors and lightens the color of oil.

7) Preservation: To increase shelf life of oil preservatives are added like BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) which are harmful for our health.

8) Filtering: This is the last and non-chemical process to filter the final product.

 So, you can understand the whole process is just to produce large amount of oil by adding solvent and other harmful chemicals to refine the natural oil.

“I hope you get an idea how harmful is refined oil for us and it can cause various diseases also.”

But, what is the solution?

Should we not consume oil at all or is there any other option available?

Ideally, you should not consume refine oil because it will give you a lot of diseases in long run. But, if you limit its use once a week then that will also be fine.

However, you can use the cold pressed, mechanical pressed and kacchi ghani oil on regular basis.

In studies it was found that cell membrane of Humans and other mammals composed of higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acid like Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-3 fatty acid. So, oil is very essential especially for the health of our skin.

How to recognize it in the market?

 As per FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), it is mandatory to mention all the ingredients of any edibles. So in case of oil you should follow the below points carefully-

When not to buy-

  • Check the ingredients list first and if you found any chemical name please do not buy it.
  • Check the amount of Trans fat. It should not be available in the ingredient list. Even 0 g is not safe because companies are allowed to write round figure as 0 if it is below 0.5 g
  • If anywhere in packet “Refined” word is mentioned then say it a clear No

When to buy-

  • If it mentioned Ghani/,Kacchi ghani, wood press/cold press, virgin then you can buy it
  • Also check the ingredient list, it should contain only one ingredient and that is the oil itself

Best oil to use for cooking:

Oils with high smoking point should be used for cooking but it should not be refined or chemically treated. Examples are Mustard oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil, Sesame oil, almond oil, Olive oil, Avocado oil

Olive oil for cooking

Smoking point: 

This is the temperature after which oil will start releasing smoke or start burning. This process spoiled the nutritional values of oil. You can check this link to see smoking point of different oils.

Take away points:

  • Never re-use oil for cooking. It is very dangerous and may cause many diseases
  • According to FSSAI currently trans fat limit is 5% but they are planning to reduce it to 2% by 2022
  • Always cook your food on low flame
  • Never use refined oil or trans fat containing oil
  • Always use cold pressed, mechanical pressed and ghani oil
  • Best oil for cooking are Mustard oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil, Sesame oil, almond oil, Olive oil, Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil contains saturated fat but can be used. The saturated fat type is Medium chain fatty acid which is not bad for your health
  • Change your cooking oil every 3-4 months if possible so that your body will get all types of required fatty acids

I hope it enhance your knowledge and enough to convince you to not to use refined oil on regular basis. Still if you have any query or comment please mention in the comment box.

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Vinay Dubey

A Health care professional and Pharmacologist with an aim of sharing my knowledge about health and lifestyle to everyone. Specially, I want to empower people from non medical background, with the knowledge that how daily lifestyle and medicines can affects their health. Also, to let them know how they can play an important role in the life cycle of a medicine.

19 Comments

  1. Very nice health Riletetd topics

  2. Most needed article on this topic. keep going vinay sir and team.

    1. Thanks Nikita. Please subscribe for updates.

  3. Nice, very informative and useful artical.. Vinay..

    1. Thanks Vijay for your appreciation!

  4. Nice article Vinay..

  5. Nice article vinay. Very useful info. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Suma! Subscribe for regular updates.

  6. Now on words big no to refined oils. Thnx u for updating us in day today life.

    1. Thanks Anuja.. please Spread The Awareness..

  7. Content of article is nice as it clearly mentioned all information of topic so nicely. now we aware about refined oil n it’s use, different oil n it’s harmful effects on body.
    Thank you for such nice information.

    1. Thank you Akash! Keep reading our articles for boosting your knowledge.

  8. Nice Article Vinay. I would like to ask you one question. What about sunflower oil, Isn’t it best for cooking?

    1. Yes, it is good as well but due to its low smoking point (107 C) it’s not suitable for high temperature required in cooking. However, it can be used in non cooking recipes like salad but should use unrefined one…

  9. Great! Interesting and useful text to read & implement

    1. Thank you so much Sir!

  10. Nice and innovative information related to healthy lifestyle.

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