All you need to know about cooking oils!

Ever see that big Zero Cholesterol tag most companies use to sell their cooking oils? Well, they are technically not lying, but there’s a lot more to it than just Zero Cholesterol.  I don’t use any sort of cooking oil on a daily basis, but since most people do, I thought I should share some vital information which will help you to choose the best option. I will try to keep it simple for you to understand, and tell you what you need to know.

Trans Fat and Smoke Point

You might wanna rethink about your frequent visits to Mcdonald’s or any other fast food outlet.

The worst among all types of fat, and consumed by most people unknowingly. But, due to increased awareness, more people are now becoming familiar this fat, which in turn is leveraged by companies and now they, in addition to “zero cholesterol” also print “zero trans-fat” on a lot of packed food products.

The cooking oil which you buy will not have any trans-fat, but like every oil, it will have a smoke point, a temperature beyond which it starts to create trans fat. The higher the smoke point, the lesser chance of trans-fat.

Also, if you reuse the cooking oil, it will then have a lower smoke point and will be vulnerable to trans-fat. It is always a bad idea to re-use the oil.

To sum up, the deep fried food you eat will most likely have trans-fat in it, because you boil the oil too much for too long, and it crosses its smoke point.

Your regular vegetable oil which you use on a daily basis has a decent smoke point, but that doesn’t mean deep frying stuff is healthy, as it will go to a very high temperature, it is very likely that it will create trans-fat.

So, now you know why it is imperative to use new oil every time you cook. Recently a Mcdonald’s outlet was caught using 16-day old oil in their kitchen, feeding nothing but trans-fat to its customers. Instead, you could have had street dosa, as it requires new oil to prepare each piece and it is cooked right in front you. Well, I hope now you’ll see at junk food in a different way.

Balance of Omega Fatty Acids

You must have heard that omegas are good for health and which is probably why you consume flax seeds, nuts and seeds, and olive oil, etc. But what you may not know is, we consume too much of omega-6 that it unbalances our omega composition in the body. Now you must wonder how and why.

Most oils are high in omega-6, and we use oil in every other food, be it sabzi, rice, fried snacks and what not. Due to this practice of ours, there is an abundant supply of omega-6 in our bodies every day.  And, consuming high quantities of omega6 and low quantities of omega-3 (unbalancing) results in various health problems like heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, cancer, slow metabolism to name a few.

Your regular refined vegetable oil has about 60% omega 6, whereas extra lite olive oil (which is suitable for cooking) has about 3.5% to 20%, omega 6. Now you know why you were gaining weight despite consuming so-called zero cholesterol healthy oils.

Olive oil, butter, coconut oil are some good options with low omega 6.

Why do I not use cooking oil?

That’s 120 calories right there, imagine what would be the calories in your complete Indian meal.

One tablespoon of any oil has about 120-140 calories. In our proper Indian food, there is way more than 1 tablespoon of oil, which is the reason why our calorie consumption goes way beyond what we are supposed to consume. Instead, prepare sauteed vegetable in a non-stick pan with less than 1 tablespoon of good oil, or prepare an omelet in the same way.
I do use extra virgin olive oil for dressing to get some healthy fats, that is a topic for a different blog post.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Do not overheat cooking oil as it may cross its smoke point and start creating trans-fat.
    2. Do not reuse cooking oil as it will have a lower smoke point and will most likely create trans-fat.
    3. Vegetable oils are rich in omega 6, which increases our omega 6 consumption and unbalances the omegas, go for extra lite olive oil, coconut oil, butter instead.

    If you know stuff, you can do great stuff.

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