Vanaspati Ghee Vs Heart Diseases

Oils and fats are very important for human health and play a vital role in growth and maintenance of our body. Many vitamins and minerals which are vital for human health are also fat soluble and they reach blood system through fats and oils. Punjabis are fond of delicious rich fat diets. Starting from breakfast of desi ghee parathas with butter and rich spicy dishes . In addition to this sarson ka sag fried with desi ghee and then superfatted with makhan or butter for extra taste and makki-ki-roti is their favourate choice. In whole India Punjabis are the super consumer’s of desi-ghee and hydrogenated fats. But now a day life style had changed and lack physically activity in daily routine. As a result of this changing pattern in modern Punjab, heart diseases are increasing at a very high alarming rate. Studies have shown that Punjabis consume relatively high amounts of ghee including trans-fats as compared with people in other parts of India. This increase in consumption of oils and fats and decreased amount of physical activity is giving rise to heart related problems and is of great concern. There may be many other reasons for heart problems but we see that our kitchen is mainly responsible for heart diseases. We are using hydrogenated oils, saturated fats and trans-fats in huge quantities in our daily diets than required quantity. Recent studies have shown that trans-fats are being considered to be responsible for coronary heart diseases. All oil and fats are made up of tri-glycerides. Tri-glyderides which are liquid at ordinary temperature are called oils where as triglyderides which are solid at normal temperature are called fats. Fats includes desi-ghee and vanaspati-ghee. Some fats are good for health but some are bad . The good types of fats includes polyunsaturated , monounsaturated fats & omega fats . Good fats help to reduce the “bad” type of cholesterol that causes clogging of arteries. Trans-fats are also called bad fats because they increase risk of coronary heart diseases. Trans-fats are generally found in hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oil. They are more harmful than the saturated fats.

All oils are of vegetable origin but Fats are of two types. First one occur in the natural form or animal driven fats are also called as Desi-ghee and second are prepared by artificial means also called as vanaspati ghee. Oils and fats are of many types depending upon their chemical composition e.g. saturated, unsaturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly unsaturated (PUFA), cis fat, trans fats, omega fats etc. The unsaturated oils are generally liquid at ordinary temperature and are made solid or semi solid vanaspati by process of hydrogenation. Vanaspati ghee are generally made by passing hydrogen gas into oils under pressure in the presence of nickel. But during the process of hydrogenation certain chemical changes takes place in the nature of chemical bonding resulting into formation of trans-fats. Trans fat is the common name for unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid. Because the term refers to the configuration of a double carbon-carbon bond, trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

Trans fats also occur naturally to a limited extent: Trans fats are not essential fatty acids; indeed, the consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Trans -fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils. Generally 13 to 33 percent trans-fats are found in Indian vanaspati ghee. Trans-fats increase the cholesterol level in the blood . They also increase the LDL level ( Bad cholesterol) in the blood and decrease the HDL level (Good cholesterol) in the blood. This means that trans-fats are responsible to spoil our lipid profile in the blood and increases the risk of coronary heart diseases by hardening and clogging the arteries . They also prevent the flow of blood in arteries resulting in increasing blood pressure levels. World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) had already banned the use of trans-fats in food items above two percent. According to FDA ruling many food companies had started mentioning the trans-fats contents in the total fat contents of their food labels. But in Indian markets many Halwaies and restaurant owners, marriage palace owners use vanaspati instead of refined oils . Many items at halwai shops such as samosas, paneer pakoras, puries, channa-bhaturas are generally made in vanaspati due to its low cost ,high smoke point and high shelf life of cooked items. Many junk food items such as potato chips, fried food items, tikkis and snacks etc are high in Trans-fats.Trans-fats are also found in confectionery items such as biscuits, namkeens, fried sweets such as mathis and cookies made from vanaspati etc.

After continuous cooking at high temperature when the oils turn yellowish brown or brown oils it becomes rancid and during storage of once used cooking oils process of rancidity continues, peroxides and polymerisation and trans-isomers configuration, also takes place which further adds on to the problem.. Therefore all once used edible oils and fats becomes unfit for human consumption.

At most of Indian restaurants and hotels and marriage palaces used cooking oils and ghee are stored after frying in functions and these rancid oils and ghee are being used again and again until they are lost or consumed completely. It is a normal practice to store oils after frying for next frying vegetables and pakoras which is harmfull. Even at our homes we are used to use sarson oil after frying pakoras again and again until it is completely consumed. This is all due to lack of knowledge. We should nip the evil of heart diseases in bud and should educate our children and adults to avoid the food items from market and always patronize home made items for healthy living. Always use natural vegetable oils or animal based fats such as butter, ghee for cooking. Before buying any food item from market always read the label of food items about the percentage of trans-fat in food product. Foods that usually contain high levels of trans- fats : Pastries, cakes, French fries (unless fried in vegetable oils), doughnuts, cookies, biscuits, chocolate, margarine, fried chicken, crackers, potato chips etc.

There are a few simple rules you can use to avoid trans-fats. Firstly, avoid all products that list hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. Secondly, use only natural vegetable oil or animal-based fats (butter, ghee) for cooking.

(P.C.S.II), Chief Executive Officer, The Jalandhar Central Cooperative Bank Ltd., Jalandhar, Mob: 9876098868, irsbains@gmail.com