The moment we think about a healthy diet, most of us blame the ‘Cooking Oil ’ and label it the ‘Bad Boy’ of the culinary kingdom, right? However, the actual truth is that Oil (or Fat) is necessary, and we all need it. Not because it aids in cooking delicious meals but also because it plays a crucial role in maintaining your health. It provides you with energy, takes care of your skin, helps control cholesterol, metabolism, and much more; provided you keep an eye on the amount and type of fat being consumed.
With diabetes and other lifestyle diseases becoming so common in cosmopolitan cities and populations, we have become extra vigilant about what we should eat or avoid, especially when it comes to Cooking Oils. This has become even more confusing to us in recent times owing to the surge of numerous brands in the market, all of which proclaim to be the best in class and with the most health benefits.
So what is the reality? Is there any truth to that brand claiming to be the best choice for ‘heart health? Should I try the Oil promoted by the Superstar as having been specifically created for diabetes? Read on to see what our expert says.
We asked our Sugar.fit Expert on Clinical & Diabetic Nutrition Ms. Rekha Prabhu if there is any parameter to judge Cooking Oil and crown the best for Diabetes Management? She says-
“One cannot pinpoint a single brand or particular Oil and say- Yes, that is the best! However, it is definitely possible and recommended to follow practices that ensure the best use of the high-quality fat one consumes.”
So is there a way to reap the benefits of high quality fat while simultaneously not causing any ill-effects to our long-term health? Guess what the expert says; Yes! and you can start right now-
Since what you eat and drink directly affects your Blood Sugar Levels, it is vital to monitor your diet when you have Type 2 Diabetes. Shuffling between different types of Oils, including Olive Oil, Ghee, Butter, Mustard Oil, Sesame, etc. will help you find the right Cooking Oil/s that is beneficial to you.
Use more of ‘Kacchi Ghani’ or Unrefined and /or Cold-pressed versions instead of Refined Oils. The production process for Refined Oils involves a lot of Chemicals, Stabilizing Agents, and High Temperature that destroy the nutritional value significantly and leaves us with just empty Calories.
Heating the Oil during cooking, to a point where it starts to burn and gives off smoke is called Smoke Point. Each Oil has its own Smoke Point, and when it's heated beyond or past that Point, it results in two undesirable effects.
Used cooking oil is basically the extra oil that has been left after cooking and which we hesitate to throw away as Oils are an expensive commodity and not keeping it after just one use is not cost-effective. Hence we end up reusing it a couple of times before discarding. But this is not advisable to reuse leftover oil from frying of food. It is important to note that since it has already been used at a high temperature earlier, it contains small food particles and other remnants. Storing this oil for reuse at a later date will only lead to a further decrease in the properties and flavor of the oil and an increase in the harmful substances. Similar to the Smoke point, reheating Used Oil also leads to a reaction called Oxidation, that too at a faster rate, leading to decrease in the quality of oil.
Oil is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking. Whether it is roti-sabzi, baked products, fried items, or anything else, oil is an item that no household can run without. On TV, we see several advertisements that now talk about healthier oils, oils that will not lead to health-related complications. This simply attests to the fact that oils can be unhealthy. They contain different types of fats and are converted into fatty acids in the body.
Oils have high inflammatory properties. They contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these fatty acids have opposite functions. Omega-6 causes inflammation and increases the potential threat of onset of diabetes. Omega-3, on the other hand, fights any inflammation and prevents the onset of diabetes. Therefore, choosing cooking oils for diabetes that are richer in Omega-3 fatty acids would be a better option. Sesame oil, Groundnut oil, Sunflower oil, Mustard oil, etc would be good options for persons with diabetes.
Avoid certain plant oils like – corn oil, rice bran oil, etc as they are associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart conditions, arthritis, etc. Additionally, also ensure to take a look at the oil packets and keep a check on the trans fat content.
Based on evidence based studies, we know that refined and highly processed oils are an absolute no-no. So what are the best oils to use for cooking? Read on to see the Top 8 ‘Unrefined versions’ of Cooking Oils curated by our expert Ms. Rekha Prabhu just for you.
Extracted from the rapeseed plant, Canola Oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (a form of omega-3 fatty acid) and monounsaturated (good) fatty acids. Studies have shown that Canola Oil aids in keeping the blood sugar and bad-cholesterol numbers low in people who have type-2 diabetes.
Olive Oil helps prevent diabetes by keeping a check on your blood glucose levels, triglycerides, and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), infamous as bad cholesterol. It is also loaded with 30 types of antioxidants that helps prevent many health complications by reducing insulin sensitivity and fat around the waistline, that are quite frequent with people with diabetes.
Flaxseeds are rich in mucilage, a kind of fiber that can slow down the rate of digestion. It makes digestion and the release of glucose into your bloodstream slower, preventing your blood sugar levels from spiking. Flaxseed Oil is often related to a decrease in insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
Rice Bran is considered one of the best heart-healthy oils. It contains mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids along with antioxidants, which can benefit people with diabetes in many different ways. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, using Rice Bran Oil can lead to a 30% reduction in blood sugar levels.
Walnut Oil is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) and helps increase insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes. According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, including Walnut Oil in a regular diet may reduce the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes symptoms in women.
Sesame Oil is a rich source of vitamin E and antioxidants. Both these components bring significant benefits to people with diabetes. According to a study (American Journal of Medicine), Sesame Oil and Rice Bran Oil are a good combination for high blood sugar and bad cholesterol.
Used in most Indian households, Mustard Oil is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and MUFA (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids). Mustard Oil is loaded with Anti-inflammatory properties and is good for the heart.
Rich in Vitamin E and PUFA, Sunflower Oil is low in trans fat. It helps slow down the process of aging and reduces bad cholesterol, and increases good cholesterol.
Avoiding Oil is not the best option for a healthy life. But choosing the correct one as per the requirement of the body and the cooking methods is the best for our overall health. By being aware and making a conscious decision to choose the best oil according to your specific requirement goes a long way in and results in better management of health.
Some oils may contain a significant amount of fat. These oils cause inflammation and harm to the blood vessels and might also raise the cholesterol level. These can, in amalgamation, result in high blood sugar levels. Good and healthy oils, however, are also known to have several positive benefits.