Healthiest oil: Tips from doctors’ kitchens

Earlier this week the Centre for Science and Environment alleged that manufactured edible oil “is unfit for consumption”.

Written by Vidya Krishnan | New Delhi | Published:February 10, 2009 1:15 am

Earlier this week the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) alleged that manufactured edible oil “is unfit for consumption”. Top doctors in the national capital reveal which oils they use for cooking in their own homes.

Noted cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan advises the use of olive oil for everyday cooking. “We cannot live without oil. Not more than 15cc of oil is recommended per day. Going by the fact that in Mediterranean countries- where olive oil is used- incidence of cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs) is the lowest in the world,I think olive oil is the healthiest. It is,however,expensive. Therefore an alternative to Olive Oil could be mustard oil. It is important that people not go by advertisements to select their products,” said Dr Trehan.

Similarly,Dr Anoop Misra,Head of Department of Internal Medicine at Fortis hospitals,said that families who have a history of Diabetes or CVDs should opt for Canola oil (made from rapeseed) or olive oil. “Trans fat is one of the components in oil besides other fatty oils. The idea is to select the best blend of oil in which the good fat,that is – Omega 3 and Omega 6 are high in content as opposed to the bad fat,that is saturated and trans fat is low. The data presented in the recent report is worrying but Olive oil,Soyabean,Canola and refined mustard oil are the best bets for families,” said Dr Misra.

Meanwhile,Head of Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS) Department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) DR Sampat Kumar maintained that considering that no oil is healthy,people must focus on exercise. “Our family used groundnut oil and ghee in every meal- both of these things are taboo now. One cannot simply chose a particular oil on one hand and not pay attention to lifestyle,diseases,diet,obesity,activity and profession. We should eat in moderation and work out accordingly,” said Dr Kumar.

CSE a Delhi-based research and advocacy organization recently revealed that tests done by them had found that in all vanaspati brands,trans fat levels were five to 12 times higher than the worlds standard for trans fats in oil,set in Denmark,at 2 per cent of the total oil. Ghee brands and Amul butter fared better,at 5.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. The safest appeared to be mustard oil brands,which indicated trans-fat content within 1 per cent.

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