Imagine the aroma laden and bewitching barbecue, biryani, pulao, qorma, nihari, haleem, paye, kata kat, gulab jaman, halwa, puri and you name it. At the same time think of a few health conscious folks counting calories and measuring closely cholesterol levels.
It is not really burning of the midnight oil for educational excellence or literary masterpieces. It is burning of the aromatic oil laden palatable delights for the food fancying public versus a handful of very calm and calculated health conscious folks.
While the consumption of vegetable oil has increased the world over, it has arisen with an overwhelming impact on its customary demand and supply in Pakistan.
Customary demand of vegetable oil knows no bounds in Pakistan as the public shift from ghee to oil is considered to be trendy with taste. But the desi touch to cooking stays very much intact.
Our ‘desi’ school of thought and action is attuned to and acclimatized with the greasy stuff so much so that our cooking hands make it the greasiest without realizing that beef or mutton are inherent with the greasy part that need not to be made further greasy with additional oil.
Imagine taste buds opening with saliva licking amid tongue-tilting “masala” and aroma filled nihari, payee, haleem, qorma, biryani, kata kat and you name it. Here additional pouring in of oil makes the already greasy mutton or beef extremely greasy and at the same time very cost-incurring.
During Ramadan stealing the greasy and tempting show is a host of items like pakoras, samosas, kebabs, halwa-puri, paratha, jalebi, gulab jaman and you name it.
A host of ghee and/or vegetable oil brands proliferate our towns and cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. These include Canola, Dalda, Tullo, Soya Supreme, Sunrise, Sundrop, Pakwan, Kisan, Dasterkhawan and so on. Despite their soaring prices, their demand is high as no dish, karahi or handi is considered to be complete without the greasy stuff whatsoever.
Whether it is Ramadan or lockdown toothsome at home or such one-time lavish dining or blooming hotels, restaurants, food streets or wayside eating delights, aroma laden oil burning sumptuous dishes are fantastic if not hypnotic for food fans.
However, scientists hypothesize vegetable oil that too much omega-6 relative to omega-3 may mean chronic inflammation indeed.
Chronic inflammation is an underlying factor in some of the most common diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Research also associated a high intake of omega-6 fat to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease.
Doctors continue to emphasize avoiding oils or margarine that contain oils high in omega-6 fats.
Some vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Scientists have hypothesized that eating too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation in the body and potentially contribute to disease.
Oil oxidized, saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated, fats differ by double bonds. Saturated fats: no double bonds, Mono- unsaturated fats: one double bond. Poly- unsaturated fats: two or more double bonds. The problem with polyunsaturated fats is that all these double bonds make them susceptible to oxidation. The fatty acids react with oxygen in atmosphere and start deteriorating.
Fats store as tissues, mix in membranes. With polyunsaturated fatty acids, cells are sensitive to oxidation.Here one has a high level of fragile fatty acids that can easily be degraded to form harmful compounds. High polyunsaturated fats are susceptible to oxidation, both on the shelf and in one’s body.
They are high in trans fats. Vegetable oils also contain trans fats. Hydrogenation is done to harden vegetable oils at room temperature– Oil margarined, hydro-genated, full of trans fats. A high intake of trans fats associates with diseases as heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
If hydrogenated oil is an ingredient, it has trans fats. For optimal health avoid these products.
Back home the so very popular wonders and beauties of food delicacies amid aromatically burning oil seem fabulous and fantastic be it charcoal-grilled barbecue or masala laden smoke of mutton, beef or chicken pulao, biryani, qorma, nihari, payas, kunna, sheer mal or taftan followed by hot and yummy gulab jamans, jalebis and halwa purl, so very mouth-watering for the food fancy public but thought-provoking for a handful of the health conscious folks.
Parvez Jamil writes for media on national and world affairs.