Reusing cooking oil harmful to health: MoH

National 2 minutes, 11 seconds


THE Community Nutrition Division of Health Services Department of the Ministry of Health (MoH) is advising the public not to reheat or reuse cooking oil, and to avoid eating food that is fried in reused oils.

In an email interview with The Brunei Times, the division said reheated and used cooking oil contains ‘higher free fatty acid’ content. These are toxins which can cause long term damage to one’s health.

Free fatty acid is closely linked to obesity and is associated with insulin resistance in people who are obese and can also cause cardiovascular diseases.

The lower the free-fatty acid is in a cooking oil, the better the storage and shelf life of the cooking oil or fat will be.

According to the community nutrition division, reheated or used cooking oil contains these free fatty acid which decreases its smoke point leading to higher emissions of volatile compounds at lower temperatures.

Smoke point, it said, is the temperature at which oil begins to smoke continuously and can be seen as bluish smoke.

This can be carcinogenic, which in long term may cause cancer and can lead to the increase in bad cholesterol levels, causing blockage in the heart arteries.

“An elevated level of bad cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of non-communicable diseases,” the community nutrition division said in an email.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is considered ‘bad’ cholesterol because it contributes to plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.

If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can occur.

Studies have shown that the products generated on reheating cooking oil, dissipate after being produced and tend to linger on in the food that have been cooked, resulting in the chemicals to get accumulated in the body as they react with human proteins, enzymes and hormones.

As part of healthy eating, the Health Ministry is advising the public to limit deep fried dishes to twice a week and to opt for better cooking methods.

“It is important to limit the use of oil in cooking. Moreover, cooking oils are placed at the tip of the food pyramid, which means it is, supposedly, least consumed in our diet,”

“Adopting healthier cooking methods such as boiling, grilling, baking, steaming, stewing, stir-frying and using pressure cooker may help to reduce our oil usage in preparing our dishes,” said the division.

The community nutrition division added that over consumption of deep-fried food may lead to obesity, which may further lead to chronic diseases and health complications.

The Brunei Times