Oil Consumption Myth: Can Oil Consumption Really Make You Fat?  Busting myths about oil consumption
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Oil Consumption Myth: Can Oil Consumption Really Make You Fat? Busting myths about oil consumption


There is a lot of excitement in the nutrition world with the release of the latest edition of dietary Guidelines -2024 for Indians by ICMR-NIN Expert Committee on May 8, 2024. While there is a lot to discuss about these guidelines, let's focus on fat And oil. Guideline 7 of the document states, “Use oils/fats in limited quantities; Choose a variety of oilseeds, nuts, walnuts grains and legumes to meet daily fat needs essential fatty acids (EFA).” Obviously, a Healthy Diet Does not need to be fat-free. Even diets aimed at weight loss do not recommend eliminating fat completely. fats and oils Provide fullness, satisfaction and delay hunger. Despite this, for various reasons, this food group has acquired a bad reputation.
It is important to understand that our fat requirements must be met by the foods we eat, including the fats/oils used for cooking. Almost all the foods we eat, whether grains, millets, pulses, beans, or vegetables, contain some fat. Nuts, oilseeds, meat and dairy products are particularly well known for their inherent fat content. These fats, although not visible, are important for our fulfillment nutritional requirements, especially for essential fatty acids. Oils/fats used for cooking should be consumed in limited quantities to meet our daily nutrient requirements.

power of fat

Fats are known to be calorie rich, but their metabolic functions are less widely understood. They play major roles in hormone production, gene expression, and cell signaling. Additionally, fat enhances the palatability of food by improving taste, texture, and flavor, which can sometimes lead to overconsumption. This is where Guideline 7 becomes essential.

break down fat

According to registered dietitian and wellness consultant Dr. Neelanjana Singh, “Fats consist of fatty acids, which are classified into three types: saturated fatty acids (SFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). It is essential to get n-6 PUFA and n-3 PUFA from our diet, so they are called essential fatty acids. It is important to maintain the ideal ratio of n-6 to n-3 PUFAs and very high levels of n-6 PUFAs in our current diets have become a concern.

trans fat

The guidance on trans fats (hydrogenated oils) is clear: actively avoid them. They are commonly found in many bakery items, ready-to-eat processed foods. Checking food labels can help avoid these fats. It is advised to limit processed foods and prefer freshly cooked food.

saturated fats

Although saturated fat is not completely harmful, it becomes harmful when consumed in excess. Fats like ghee, coconut oil and palm oil are high in saturated fat. It is recommended to limit saturated fats to a portion of total fat intake (SFA:MUFA:PUFA ratio should be 1:1:1), with only one teaspoon of such fat allowed in an adult's daily diet. The specificity of each saturated fat must be understood to take advantage of their properties. Coconut oil and ghee are used in some therapeutic regimens for their special absorption properties.
Contrary to popular belief, palm oil or palmolein can also be part of a healthy balanced diet when consumed responsibly in appropriate amounts. Natural compounds in palm oil, such as tocotrienols and beta-carotene, support heart health and provide neuroprotection. Palm is a stable oil at high temperatures, so oxidative products are minimal when cooking. Additionally, palm oil contains 40% of the fatty acids in the form of MUFAs which are known to play a role in reducing atherogenesis (fatty deposits in the arteries).

How much fat is enough?

About 30% of the calories in a 2000 calorie diet should come from fat, which equates to about 55 grams, including both visible and invisible sources. visible fat cooking oil Consumption should be limited to 20-25 grams or 4-5 teaspoons per day, with only one teaspoon coming from saturated fats like ghee, palm oil or coconut oil.

Virgin and Cold Pressed Oil

virgin and cold-pressed oil Are highly valuable. cold pressed Oil (Crude Ghani Oil) is extracted without using heat treatment thereby preserving the phytonutrients, while virgin oil The first are obtained by an extraction process, which may involve mechanical pressure with or without heat. Such oils may contain unwanted compounds such as gums, waxes, pesticide residues, aflatoxins and allergens. Refining the oils removes these compounds, making them safe for consumption, but also reduces beneficial components such as antioxidants and phytosterols.

Reusing, re-frying and storing fat

Heat, light and air are the three enemies of fat. It is important to store fats/oils in dark containers with tightly closed lids, away from light and heat. After frying food, it is important to filter the food particles from the remaining oil. This oil should only be used for cooking at low temperatures (not for re-frying) and should be consumed within a day or two. Repeated frying in the same oil produces toxic compounds. The notion that mixing fresh oil with used oil will not have any negative effects is false; This actually leads to rapid degradation.

Stay informed and choose wisely

Balancing different types of fatty acids can be challenging. Dietitians can assess diet and suggest approaches to achieving this balance. Preference should be given to cooking methods that require less added fat, such as steaming, boiling, baking, roasting and grilling. Fried foods prepared in suitable oil may be consumed occasionally in limited quantities.
Let's not underestimate the importance of this food group, but also be careful not to underestimate the amount consumed – much of it is invisible! This awareness can lead to better health outcomes.

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