ICMR Warns Against Repeated Heating of Vegetable Oils: Potential Cancer Risk and Proper Reuse Guidelines

ICMR Warns Against Repeated Heating of Vegetable Oils: Potential Cancer Risk and Proper Reuse Guidelines

ICMR Warns Against Repeated Heating of Vegetable Oils: Potential Cancer Risk and Proper Reuse Guidelines

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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued new guidelines cautioning against the repeated heating and reuse of vegetable oils, highlighting the associated health risks, including an increased chance of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The guidelines stress the importance of proper usage and storage to mitigate these risks.

Risks of Repeatedly Heating Vegetable Oils

ICMR, in collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition, noted that repeatedly heating vegetable oils can lead to the formation of toxic compounds. These compounds, including trans fats and acrylamides, have been linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and other chronic diseases. The process of oxidation during heating particularly affects polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), producing harmful substances that significantly elevate health risks.

Key Points from the Guidelines:

– Toxic Compounds Formation: Repeated heating transforms some fats into trans fats, which are notorious for increasing the risk of heart disease. The oxidation of PUFAs leads to the generation of harmful compounds.

– Increased Free Radicals: Reheated oils can release free radicals, contributing to inflammation and chronic health issues.

– Health Consequences: Beyond cancer and heart disease, reheated oils can lead to liver damage and digestive issues due to the release of toxins like aldehydes.

Proper Usage and Storage of Vegetable Oils

To help mitigate these risks, ICMR has provided specific recommendations for the reuse of vegetable oils, particularly in household settings.

Guidelines for Reusing Vegetable Oils:

– Filter and Limited Use: Once used for frying, vegetable oil should be filtered and can be reused for curry preparations. However, it should not be used for frying again.

– Quick Consumption: Such oils should be consumed within a day or two to prevent deterioration.

– Avoid Long-term Storage: Storing used oils for extended periods should be avoided due to the high rate of deterioration.

Expert Recommendations

Nutritionists echo ICMR’s warnings, emphasizing the dangers of reheating and reusing vegetable oils. They advise using oils with high smoke points, such as avocado or safflower oil, to reduce health hazards. Maintaining proper cooking temperatures and discarding oil after one use can significantly lower the risk of exposure to harmful substances.

Nutritionist’s Advice:

– High Smoke Point Oils: Opt for oils like avocado or safflower oil to withstand high temperatures better.

– Avoid Multiple Uses: Reusing oil should be minimized. Fresh, unprocessed oils are recommended for optimal health.

– Health Impacts: Reheated oils can cause an increase in trans fats, release of free radicals, and other toxic substances leading to various health issues.

The ICMR guidelines are part of a broader set of 17 new dietary recommendations aimed at helping Indians make informed food choices, maintain good health, and prevent malnutrition. These guidelines encompass dietary advice, physical activity, hydration, weight management, food safety, and labeling.

By adhering to these recommendations, individuals can better manage their health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and ensure safer cooking practices.