Fat/oil is the most talked about and controversial nutrient. Questions such as how much oil should we consume in a day to which oils are healthy, plague us from time to time. Additionally, when we look at fat beyond just the cooking oils in everyday food, it leads to a lot of confusion. Generally speaking, we all need fat for several reasons. Fat gives us essential fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6. It helps in absorption of fat- soluble vitamins-A, D, E and K. Fat adds the satiety value to foods we eat, and it supplies our body with crucial energy.
Which oil should you consume?
Definitely not the refined version that the TV ads make us believe is cholesterol free or good for the heart. Refined oils are scrapped off all the necessary healthy nutrients, i.e., the vitamins and polyphenols that work in the body as antioxidants. So buy the filtered oils. Although they may look dark and can have a different smell, it is the aroma of the natural seeds from which the oil is extracted.
It is these sources and the method behind how the oil was made that determines the oil’s health quotient. You can use a mustard oil, til oil, groundnut oil, olive oil, ghee as well as home-made butter. These can be used alternatively or as and when a dish/recipe demands. All these oils have different combinations of fatty acids, and so they all do a different job in the body. Avoid hydrogenated fats and dalda.
Read the food label to determine how much oil/fat content the product involves
This is especially important since nearly every packaged food product will include some fat content. Whenever you buy any food product from the market, make it a habit of reading the food labels. Read how much saturated fats/ hydrogenated fats are used.
How much oil should you consume in a day?
For a normal adult, 4-5 tsp. per day should be enough. And definitely not more than 50mg per day.