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Is soyabean oil good for daily consumption in our diet?

Q: I am a 27 years old male. Is soyabean oil good for daily consumption in our diet? Are there any retarding factors associated with it? Which is the second best type of oil for dietary usage after olive oil?

A:Each and every oil you pick up, is a mixture of saturated fat (the `bad’ fat) and unsaturated fat (the `good’ fat). Unsaturated fat (the `good’ fat) is further of two types: mono unsaturated fat (technically, mono unsaturated fatty acid or MUFA) and poly unsaturated fat (poly unsaturated fatty acid or PUFA). And lastly, PUFA is also of two types: Omega 3 and Omega 6.

What makes the oil healthier than the other is just the proportion in which it contains saturated and unsaturated fats. That is, oil which has more saturated fat and less of the unsaturated fats is better avoided. Whereas that which has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats are preferable. Also, it is always better to choose oil which has both types of unsaturated fats i.e. MUFA and PUFA both and not just one of the two. The ideal ratio of saturated fat to MUFA and PUFA in oil is 1:1:1. And, it is even better if oil has both the types of PUFA i.e. Omega 6 and Omega 3, ideally in a ratio of 4:1.

Soyabean oil has a good profile of fatty acids. The saturated fat in it is less. The unsaturated fats in it include, MUFA and both the PUFAs i.e. Omega 3 and Omega 6. There are some concerns about an increased presence of the solvent Hexane (used during the oil extraction process) in soyabean oil, available for sale commercially, but these haven’t been verified by many reliable sources. Otherwise, it has no known inhibiting or toxic factors.

If not soyabean oil, you can opt for oils with a similar profile including: Canola (available in most supermarkets) and corn. If not these, opt for: safflower (kardi), sunflower, sesame (til), groundnut and cottonseed. These five have MUFA and one of the two PUFA , namely Omega 6 (Note: while using oils containing only Omega 6, its better to try and get Omega 3 from other food sources like fatty fish, flaxseed or walnut).

Lastly, olive is good oil with a profile similar to soyabean oil and is great for daily use, but the cost factor can be a deterrent.

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