Islamabad - Medical experts on Saturday urged public that the consumption of unhealthy cooking oil, banaspati and ghee products is putting the citizens at a risk of cancer and heart diseases.

A report aired by a private news channel said, as ghee is a favored component in Pakistani dishes, today’s generation should be a little more apprehensive about its saturated fat content.

A senior Physician Dr. Syed Ali Arsalan said, “Many restaurants and some households may use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (also known as banaspati or dalda or vegetable ghee) in place of ghee because of its lower cost. This vegetable ghee may contains trans fats are said to cause serious health conditions for consumers.

He explained in fact, since vegetable ghee is so high in trans fats, it is considered extremely harmful for people, especially those who live sedentary lifestyles.

He recommended, “be it ghee or oil, the quantity of fat consumption per day should be limited to 10 to 15 grams per person assuming that the person is not obese”.

“When ghee is consumed at levels above 10% total calories, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease.”

He said cheap and substandard palm oil is being used in manufacturing of Banaspati ghee, which is very harmful to human consumption.

The doctor also said that chemicals like nickel, platinum and plutonium are used in manufacturing of Banaspati ghee, which may result in cancer.

 He said modern research showed that the use of Banaspati ghee may result in clogged arteries, blood pressure and cholesterol.

He also confirmed that several tested samples did not meet the international standards for nutritional values.

Keeping an eye on illegal vendors, establishing laboratories to check food samples, sealing unregistered factories, imposing heavy fines on usage of contaminated material and most importantly shutting these places is very crucial.

He said research had proven that excess consumption of degraded oil was unhealthy and caused throat and stomach diseases.            

The frying or cooking oil must be discarded after use, he said adding that several tests were available in western countries to ascertain the quality of oil.

In Pakistan, however, no such test was available which encouraged vendors to new oil in already used oil. He said the chemical ingredients in the oil became very harmful once it was re-boiled repeatedly.

He mentioned, there are two main types of oils: animal-based and plant-based. You’re probably very familiar with animal-based oils, like butter, lard, and ghee. These fats are often labeled as “bad” due to their saturated fat content.

So, people turn to plant-based oils, believing they are a healthier option since they’re rich in polyunsaturated fat instead, he suggested.

Popular plant-based oils include olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and corn oil, but plant-based oils are not created equally. And while some are a great choice in the kitchen, others can be pretty harmful especially when you heat them.

Specialist said majority of the people in this business do not adopt any measure to ensure the quality of oil as well as to increase the useful life of frying oils.

 He said the modern methods include use of active and passive filters, anti-oxidants and better maintenance of fryer equipment.