The Truth: About Refined Cooking Oil
The presence of toxins even in small quantities may have profound effect on the health and well-being of the common masses including me and you.
Most people believe that brands like Saffola and other refined oils are healthy for us, as they claim to reduce cholesterol. Below is a detailed process of how cooking oil is refined for you to decide if you still think it is healthy for you.
Oil refining is a process where crude oils; i.e. natural oils from vegetables are refined to remove any substances that may contribute to off flavor, off odor, undesirable color, or for keeping standardization, and standardization is required because if 100 million tons are being sold, there would be chaos at the supermarket if every bottle would be different in color and clarity as it is naturally supposed to be.
Step 1: “Washing” of oil using water, salts and acids in order to remove waxes, phosphates and other impurities.
Step 2: Oil undergoes a neutralization process. Alkali which is soap mixed with oil and heated to 180F. A separator then removes the soap from the oil.
Step 3: The oil is subjected to “physical” refinement to remove odor compounds by vacuum steam distillation process.
Step 4: Next the oil is subjected to cooling. By doing this, some fats will crystallize and are removed using filtration.
Step 5: The oil is then bleached. This process stabilized the oil. Bleaching involves using clay to remove color and impurities from the oil. Oil is bleached by heating it to 130F, and mixing with clay. The mixture is held for several minutes and then the hot oil is filtered from the clay and cooled.
Step 6: Hydrogenation process is completed by pumping pressurized hydrogen into an agitated tank filled with oil. This must be done in the presence of a catalyst metal, such as nickel. Hydrogenation is done at 204C and pressure of 60psig.
Do we want to be eating the end result of this rigorous procedure? It has already been the cause of much illness, continuing to eat this is to ask for irreversible damage to health.
Testing survey work carried out: This project was undertaken to spell out the heavy metal contamination in edible oils, especially the chemically processed ones like Hydrogenated vegetable oils & Refined oils. For example Nickel is used as a hydrogenating catalyst for hardening of vegetable oils. Nickel has adverse effect on Respiratory system, liver, skin, metabolism, interaction with DNA/RNA, crosses Placental barrier also carcinogenic action.
Popular brands of HVO viz. Rath, Ruchi,Gagan, Dalda, Panghat, Suhagin, No.1, Postman, Vital, Crystal, Saffola, Dalda refined, Dhara etc. were collected randomly from the local market belonging to different batch numbers and subjected to testing/screening for the presence of heavy metals.
Following the discovery of high nickel residual contents in the edible vegetable oils including hydrogenated vegetable oils, the Indian Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has been amended to incorporate the fixing of maximum upper limit of Nickel (1.5 ppm) in the vegetable oils. But please note, it’s still allowed and if it’s a small quantity it all eventually adds up!
Refining is accomplished with the addition of sodium hydroxide and temperatures around 450 degrees. The refined oil is not considered edible without further processing, such as filtration, deodorization, bleaching.
The process of refining oils is equivalent to the refining of whole wheat and whole sugar into white ones. In all cases, one takes a product full of natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other food factors and reduces the original natural food into a relative “nonfood”—devitalized, stripped.
Crude oils i.e. cold pressed Oil, retain their natural anti-oxidants; which contains all its natural vitamin A, all its natural vitamin E, all its natural lecithin, and all of the other natural food factors.
Refined oils find their way into the human food chain and become the raw material for every cell in your body. Countless diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, allergies, emphysema, stomach ulcers, premature aging, impotence, hypoglycemia and arthritis exist because chemically synthesized substances disrupt the bio-chemistry of hundreds of billions of microscopic living cells which make up the body.
The life of most cells is short; new cells are constantly being made to replace dead ones. The raw materials for this rebuilding come from the blood stream. When it contains toxins, the process of rebuilding cells is disrupted. Resistance to disease diminishes. If you have a genetic weakness and continue to eat refined oil, the cumulative effect of toxins will increase the risk of becoming a host to disease.
Eradicating every guilty pleasure in life is not the end goal here, nor is it a particularly realistic approach to making changes…we all enjoy the occasional pav bhaji, cheeseburger, fries, or bag of chips. But it’s important to understand the consequences of making what ought to be an occasional treat into your mainstay diet.
Opt for unrefined sesame or mustard oil when it comes to cooking . Make sure to not use Extra Virgin Olive oil for cooking as it has a low burn point.
OIL, SALT & SUGAR are basics that we all require and are important for good health. At least make sure these are natural and pure.
Written by Sejal Vora