Oil is a very essential part of cooking

it is so frequently used, that people often to reuse it several times for various cookings.

Recycling of oil is a common practice in homes and also among street food vendors.

 But is this practice safe?

Can it lead to health problems?.

Nutrition experts have warned against the practice of reusing vegetable oil for cooking, noting that it has a serious negative health impact.

The problem with reusing oil is that it can create free radicals which cause ailments in the long run.

Free radicals attach themselves to healthy cells and lead to diseases.

These free radicals can be carcinogenic i.e. can cause cancer and also atherosclerosis which can lead to increase in bad cholesterol levels, blocking the arteries.

Professors Johnson Agbede, a Professor of Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition says , “When people continue to use recycled oil for frying to gain more profit, it becomes darkened and unhealthy”.

“Such oil should not be used again

because it can lead to the production of free radicals, if it is consumed; and these free radicals can predispose the consumer to diseases in future.”

He explained that over use of frying oil makes the oil  thinner.

Hence the food that is fried tends to absorb more of that oil

and the oily foods becomes dangerous for consumption

“It will predispose that person to the risk of heart disease”

And the person will also be predisposed to high cholesterol.” he says

Some other potential health risks of reusing oil include:

Acidity

Heart disease

Alzheimer s and Parkinson s disease

Irritable throat (due to inhalation)

How many times can one reuse oil?

Nutritionist Priya Kathpal says there is no set number of times one can reuse the oil as it depends on  a number of factors

However, using a fresh batch every time is good, but it is not really practical.

 But if done correctly, one can reduce the risk of negative effects that reused oil may pose.

Priya lists a few pointers to help you reuse oil safely.

Make sure the leftover oil from cooking or frying is cooled down and then transferred into an airtight container through a strainer/cheesecloth. This will remove any food particles in the oil as they spoil the oil much sooner than expected.

Make sure you check the oil each time before reusing for the colour and thickness. If it s dark in colour and is greasy/sticky than usual it is time to change the oil.

Also, if the oil is smokey on heating much before than expected, you need to discard this batch as it may have accumulated HNE which is a toxic substance that has been associated with a number of diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, liver disease, etc.

Another thing to remember is that not all oils are same. Some of them have a high smoke point i.e. they can be used for frying, deep frying.

because they do not break down at high temperatures.

Such oils include sunflower, safflower, soybean, rice bran, peanut, sesame, mustard and canola oil.

Oils which do not have a high smoke point such as olive oil should not be used for anything which involves high temperatures.

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