TNT in your Stomach

By Dr. Haseeb Jafferi

TNT in your Stomach

Hyderabad (RAHNUMA): TNT (Trinitrotoluene) is a powerful explosive but did you ever wonder what would happen if a similar explosion would happen in our stomach? Well in a sense we are letting a similar reaction happen in our stomach but on a less dramatic scale with the oils, we use in our frying pans. To understand this let‘s see what is Oxidation, a chain reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen and leads to deterioration in the quality of food products, one of the easiest triggers for oxidation is Heat.

The commonest used refined vegetable oils in our homes today are highly heated sensitive polyunsaturated fats; trouble with these delicate fats is that they turn into toxic Trans fats. For instance, Canola Oil which India is the world’s third-largest producer is so unstable and degradation happens so fast that the testing and analytical labs struggle to find pure canola oil with trans fat content lower than 1.2 percent to be used as a standard in the lab. A glance at the oil labels in any supermarket and you are bound to find flashy stickers which say Trans Free but the failure to mention that heat so readily distorts their fatty acids and ready-made food products of vegetable oils on heating may produce something’s which are more sinister than Tans fats.

Good Fats Bad Fats
Natural Traditional fats which can withstand heat during processing or cooking, especially in Indian cooking styles. Industrialized fats cannot withstand the heat from processing and cooking.
Coconut oil, Peanut oil, Mustard oil, Olive oil, Butter, and Ghee Soy oil, Canola oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Cottonseed oil, Vanaspati.

So it all boils down to one fact heating processed vegetable oils are dangerous but the same may not be true for natural fats and unprocessed or cold-pressed oils. Refining or processing vegetable oils distort the fatty acids at the molecular level and they can no longer attain their natural five or six-sided geometry. So Nature on its own doesn’t make Ugly fats, Man processes it to make it ugly.

(Dr. Haseeb Jafferi is a Pharmacognosist, Cultural Curator & Experiential Educator.)

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