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Comparing Oils and Fats

Accredited Practicing Dietitian Deevya Gupta

What to use?

A controversial topic for some as we look into the evidence for uses of different types of oils and fats. Research is always changing and as science evolves, the recommendations also evolve.

Some of the most common oils for cooking used by Indian’s include:

  • Ghee
  • Coconut oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • More recently Extra virgin olive oil

What oils should I be using?

The answer would be simple if we all cooked the same, however Indian cuisines and living abroad, we adapt to a variety of other cooking methods. This makes a difference in the types of oils and fats that are recommended to cook with. Certain fats can be heated up to a higher temperature and maintain their benefits, other fats not so much. Extra virgin olive oil is readily available in Australia and has very well-researched benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is best when used with salads, or drizzled on top of foods, rotis and vegetables however may not be as appealing when deep-frying puris and pakoras for some. Despite this, even at temperatures up to 190-200C degrees, extra virgin olive oil was found to maintain some nutrients.

Try and opt for unrefined oils as these as not as processed. Ideally, we want more oils in our diet that are lower in saturated and trans fats as our body cannot break these down easily and higher in poly and monounsaturated fats as these are protective for our body.

Here are some facts:

Indians have one of the highest rates of heart disease and chronic conditions in the world. Consumption of higher saturated fats such as ghee and coconut oil is commonly used for Indian cooking.

There is more research being done in this area, regarding ghee and its health effects including effects on cholesterol.

Should I re-use the oil I have already fried with?

It is recommended to avoid reheating and reusing the same oils that have already been used to fry foods with. There is ample research on the effects of reusing cooking oils, the oils breakdown with each use and release toxic substances which may cause inflammation and other chronic diseases. Trans-fats usually form when oils are regularly reused, these fats are very difficult for the body to remove and increase the chances of heart disease. Overall, it’s best said to avoid reusing, however in the context of cooking it will all depend on how often and how much you use the oils.

What can I do to reduce the total amount of fats and oils used?

Consider other cooking methods. Deep frying uses the most oil however baking and air fryers use just a small fraction of this. Many fried foods can actually also be made in the air fryer -even Gol gappe!

In summary:

  • Use unrefined oils wherever possible
  • Extra virgin olive oil is able to be used in cooking curries and hot food as well as salads
  • Consider other cooking methods to use less oils if you usually fry a lot of foods
  • Find a balance in everything you use, even if it means using a variety of oils and not too much of just one type

Please note this advice is provided for the general population. Specific advice should be sought your from your health care provider or Dietitian. If you are needing a Dietitian, feel free to get in touch with us.

By- Accredited Practicing Dietitian Deevya Gupta

www.abcofnutrition.com.au Phone: 0450066683