Disclaimer: This is not a medical advise. Neither it is an individual view point. It is what it is. It is an educated, witnessed, and evidence based view point via several case studies spread over 100’s of athletes besides n=1 experiment on myself. It is backed by science and it has worked in so many people in live environments. So any and all criticism is welcome but keep it science based. I would be happy to answer or learn.
Seed oil ( sunflower, corn or any other), Mustard oil, Olive Oil, Coconut oil, or Ghee – CONFUSION?
They all come with different properties and proportions of monounsaturated (MUFA), polyunsaturated (PUFA), Omega 6, Omega 3, Oliec or linoleic acids etc. Interestingly, all have shown to benefit health in different researches in different environments and yet, one can easily find evidence both for their benefits as well as bad side effects. Although lenoleic acid (its breakdown, interaction with some receptors etc) seems to increase hunger, fat storage etc.; but it only comes beyond a certain quantity.
Let us look at the practical usage of ‘Oil’ in our or I should say northern India diet:
a) Used for cooking
There is no (b) for me at least. For you?
Ques: How much it contributes to your overall mix/calories or adding nutritional component?
Now this is a factor that defines if it is important for you or you can just ignore it.
Analogy – half a spoon of sugar in your tea can not make any difference to your overall sugar in blood, or weight, or can cause any chronic ailment. But same half spoon if taken 5 times a day, could still be a small amount overall; would have the potential to disturb some metabolic pathway which can eventually give birth to some kind of chronic inflammation if their system doesn’t support it.
Same logic – if were to have two meals a day made out of any oil; I can’t think of any reasoning how it can cause us damage in such small proportions? Whereas it is suppose to give benefits. And for those sensitive souls who may get effected by any specific oil due to some metabolic issue should change it for sure.
To have an effect(good or bad); one needs to consume a certain quantity. Yes, if we keep using something regularly (even in slightest qty) then it can build up an ailment chronically over a period of time. But then I wondered what is it in a oil that can prove to be dangerous in a long run. Linoleic acid? No…its not poison! However, if we take it in excess; then your suitability is tested. What happens inside you could be an outcome of several unknown or known interactions. How much can we sustain to safeguard ourselves is on an individual – be it then oil or protein.
In my culture, and am sure in many Indian cultures, we been consuming mustard oil since generations. And perhaps one of the salient features that make mustard oil stand out are its properties containing MUFA, PUFA, Omega6, or Omega 3 or even their ratio. We grow mustard in farms in my part of the country and therefore, it becomes the preferred oil which is affordable.
Ques: But do we have diabetics in society, or do people die of cancer or heart attacks in this population? Yes…of course. So they do across cultures, regardless of their oil consumption. Would I blame mustard oil for it? No…heck no! It has everything and just that the proportions are different. How much contribution that small percentage can make to harm us whereas it is suppose to benefit us at the same time?
Its overfeeding that is the cause and yes. its same across nationalities and cultures.
Here is my take on the subject after diving into researches and literature:
a) One doesn’t need to worry about oil if your cooking do not include substantial amounts. Most of us fall in this domain in my opinion. Even if does then one must test it out. It might be possible that some doesn’t suit your system. And some do beautifully. Just as ‘ghee’ suits us but not many outside.
b) Eating deep fried food regularly – be it then in any of the above oils or ghee, it can never proven to be healthy. Most of us will get some kind of inflammation which could be any malfunction in metabolic machinery. No oil can save you from this unless calories and foods are balanced out just as we do it in ‘keto – high fat’ diet. Yes, seed oil has proven to have some properties that help you gain weight. Drop it, change to different oil and see how it effects you.
c) Eating deep fried food once a while – it doesn’t matter for a healthy person. It doesn’t mean you can eat roadside stuff. Some may…some may not! Its your individual tolerance. Here am referring to deep fried that you trust. At home I would use what is available. There are certain things that taste brilliant in mustard and there are many that taste heavenly in sunflower. Olive oil has its own grace and I use it a lot as well. Ghee in daal is one of the most wholesome and nutritionally awesome diet if one could have just that as a meal. Everything has a use.
d) Try to keep one meal oil free unless you are on high fat diet. Yes. Helps a lot to balance out your lipid numbers and keep a check on our calorie intake.
e) Nothing is ‘best’ and anything which is expensive is not necessarily good for your system. We are individuals. Do not go by the price tag. Go by your taste and kind of food you eat. And how much you use it.
f) I change my cooking oils. If I were to have high fat meal then I would prefer Olive oil like I fry potatoes in Olive oil or marinate chicken. But if I were to cook non-veg then I would use Mustard oil. I do change from time to time to seed oils for cooking. Ghee stays a part of my diet most winters.
This is my understanding on oils having experimented on many different ones. See if it can help build yours….