Refined oil is the processed form of natural oil, which is obtained after treating natural oils with numerous chemicals to fulfill the consumer’s expectations such as odor-free and flavor-free oil along with a long shelf life.
To accomplish the need for a longer shelf life, the oils are subjected to a hydrogenation process in which liquid unsaturated fat is turned into solid fat by adding hydrogen to it resulting in excess production of trans fat in the oil which has an adverse effect. In the process of extraction of vegetable oils from plants, high heat, pressure, and chemical solvents are used. Thus the oils oxidize and become rancid, as well as lose many or all of their properties. This renders them toxic. Regular consumption of refined oil may lead to cancer, Diabetes Mellitus (DM), gastrointestinal disease, atherosclerosis, obesity, reproductive issues, and immune dysfunction.
Effect on Heart and Brain
The high temperatures applied during the refining process remove all the valuable and natural elements from them. Instead, it increases the amount of trans fat which is known to increase bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels and reduces beneficial HDL cholesterol. All of these LDL and trans fats get deposited within arteries causing plaque formation. A buildup of plaque can narrow these arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Eventually, the reduced blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. If the plaque ruptures it obstructs the blood supply to the brain causing a stroke.
Effect on Gastrointestinal Health
Omega 6 and Omega 3 are significant fats necessary for brain development, hormone production, cellular health, and the immune system. It is necessary to have these fats in proper balance. The correct ratio of omega 3 and 6 are from 1:4 to 1:2. Unfortunately, the refined oils contain a ratio almost closer to 20:1. Researchers have found that excess consumption of omega 6 has harmful effects on gut health and can cause inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and immune cell damage. Hence our diet should be rich in omega 3 for better gut health as they are anti-inflammatory in nature.
Previous studies have shown that Trans fats have been seen to increase women’s risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and many other types of cancers as well.
Oils We Should Avoid
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Hydrogenated oil
Oils We Should Include
- Olive oil
- Virgin coconut oil
- Flax-seed oil
- Cold-pressed oils
Nowadays, based on health concerns, oil-free diets are largely accepted by people. With an oil-free diet, one must keep in mind that they meet their intake requirements for essential fatty acids as well as all fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Fats and oils can help nutrient absorption from a meal, especially unrefined fats are essential to lead a healthy lifestyle as they enhance our immune and endocrine systems, are needed for energy, and play an important role in bone health.
Dr. Manisha Panigrahi
JKYog Naturopathy Hospital