Edible Oils: They are Not All Created Equal

 

You probably have used edible oil in lots of your homemade meals. But have you ever paused and wondered what is it made of and what sets edible oils apart from one another? How does your oil compare with others in the market in terms of health benefits and is there a merit in switching the edible oil?

 

There are plenty of choices of variety of edible oils available in the market, the most common  being Palm oil, Vegetable oil, Soyabean oil, , Groundnut oil, Olive oil ,coconut oils etc. While each of them may look the same, but scientifically, they are all very different from each other – in their fundamental construct and health benefits they provide.

 

Scientifically, all edible oils are 100% Fatty acids – This is true for all types of oils! However, what makes them different are the type of Fats they contain, and it makes them good or bad for you. The fatty acids of all edible oils belong to one of the following – Saturated Fatty acids (SFA), Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) or Poly-Unsaturated Fatty acids (PUFA), depending upon the saturation of the Chemical bonds inside them. All edible oils essentially contains a different proportion of the above 3 fatty acids and these fatty acids aren’t built alike! There are plenty of scientific literature available to understand these Fatty acids and their impact on the human body..

 

Saturated Fatty acids (SFA),  sometimes called solid fats have been suggested to be Bad Fats – They have been associated with increased levels of bad (LDL) Cholesterol in people. LDL Cholesterol is associated with increased risk of heart diseases and stroke. They may increase health risks if a person consumes too much over a long period. Many health authorities, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the British Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, the World Heart Federation, the British National Health Service, amongst others advise that saturated fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and their consumption should be minimized.

 

On the other hand, Unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and  may be either Monounsaturated Fatty acids (MUFA) or Polyunsaturated Fatty acids (PUFA). They are defined by the un-saturation in their chemical structure.  Contrary to Saturated Fats, unsaturated Fatty acids have been associated with lowered risks on hearts – Many careful studies have found that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or strokes. These studies prompted many medical organizations and public health departments, including the World Health Organization to officially issue that advice. The un-saturated fats help protect your heart by maintaining levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood. PUFA are mainly of 2 types – Omega 3 or Omega 6, the benefits of which are well documented. The more un-saturated fats an oil has, is better for consumption.

 

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