The Satyam in our oil | Centre for Science and Environment


The Satyam in our oil

Which cooking oil is best for us? Why do I ask? Are we not bombarded with advertising messages telling us there is a healthy oil that is good for the heart? They talk of monounsaturated fatty acids (mufa), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (pufa) and of course, catch-us-words like omega properties.

I am sure you, like me, try to understand this scientific jargon and conclude that any oil that has all these elements, must be good. Then we presume if we are being told the product is healthy, somebody must have verified the claim. If not, we depend on food regulators of the rich world. Food is after all nutrition and even medicine. It must be taken seriously, we are sure. So, we as aware citizens go out and buy the healthy oil.

Like you, I also thought I had it figured out. Then the Centre for Science and Environment's pollution monitoring laboratory tested various types--from peanut, to mustard, safflower, sunflower, olive and more. As the results came in, we compared them with what we knew about these oils. It is then we realized we do not even begin to understand the science of our food and its relation with our bodies--in a world, where our food is not our own anymore. The business is in our kitchen. In this business, our nutrition and its science are also business, even profit. If food regulators slip--are unmindful or negligent--our health is compromised.

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