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Cooking in reheated oil increases risks of various diseases

The consumption of food cooked or fried in again and again reheated oil may increase risks of a number of serious diseases including heart disease, neurological disorders, liver problems and cancers.

Various studies conducted around the globe have shown that reheated oil contains high levels of toxic aldehydes and chemicals known to cause neurodegenerative disease and cancer.

Even some popular cooking oils such as canola, corn, soybean and sunflower oils generate high levels of toxins when heated again and again.

Many health experts believe that population in the country becomes at greater risk of getting serious ailments in result of using reheated oil in the month of Ramazan because majority of people reuse cooking oils for preparing dishes at ‘Iftar’ or use food prepared at hotels and vendors that use reheated oil.

It is important that a study conducted some 11 year back found that a toxin called 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (HNE) forms when such oils as canola, corn, soybean and sunflower oils are reheated. Consumption of foods containing HNE from cooking oils was found to be associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, various liver disorders and cancer.

Researchers say that once absorbed in the body, the HNE reacts with DNA, RNA and proteins affecting basic cellular processes.

Similarly, some of the aldehydes generated through reheating of oil dissipate after being produced in cooked oil though many others linger and accumulate and upon consumption, these toxins then reacts with human proteins, enzymes, and hormones, which can lead to serious health problems.

Experts say that on heating even the best quality of edible oil several times, releases toxic aldehydes and the more times the oil is reheated, the concentration of the toxic chemicals become higher making it more injurious to health.

Deep fried ‘Iftar’ dishes like ‘pakoras’, ‘samosas’, ‘kachoris’, ‘jalebis’ etc. prepared in again and again reheated oil can be a risk factor for heart disease, breast cancer and prostate along with a number of other health threats and people should be aware of it, said Assistant Professor at ICU in Holy Family Hospital in town Dr. Muhammad Haroon while talking to ‘The News’ on Sunday.

He said that for safety and quality, one should use fresh cooking oil each time while frying but if you deep-fry large amounts of food frequently, it may not always be practical from an economic standpoint. In that case, one may take some simple measures to minimize the bad effects of using reheated oil, he said.

He added one should choose oils with a high smoke point, prepare food for minimal contamination of the oil and strain the oil to get out any food particles left over. By doing this, you can reuse most oils as long as they are properly stored, he said.

It is important that the use of unpacked edible oil which is being sold in a number of markets in the region poses more serious threat to health as compared to use of quality edible oil, said Deputy Director at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Waseem Ahmed Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’.

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