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deep frying

Nothing gives more joy than sitting by the window on a rainy day, eating hot pakodas and sipping some adrak chai. But most of the time, instead of enjoying our deep fried goodies, we are scared eating them. Let’s get to know myths & facts about deep frying & whether its healthy or not.

Question 1 – Isn’t Deep fried food Fattening?

– The USFDA has reviewed its dietary guidelines in 2015 saying that there is no upper limit to one’s daily dietary fat intake. In simple words, the ban on total dietary fat has finally been lifted, and it’s none other than the USFDA asking you not to worry about the fat & indulge in your bhajjiyas guilt free 🙂

Second point is that Nutrition science tells us that addition of fat to a meal brings down its glycemic index. Presence of Fat in a meal delays the process of converting food to blood sugar. Hence, the more fat, the slower the sugars or carbs are digested, and lower is the glycemic index. Not difficult to understand why we have food combinations like aamras and puri. If the mangoes in aamras are infamously known to increase your sugar levels and make you fat, the deep fried puri along with it makes sure the GI of the overall meal stays in check.

Question 2 – What are the best oils for deep frying food?

– We need to consider two things to determine the best fat that will not break down at high temperature to create toxic compounds- one is the smoke point and other is the stability of the fat.

Ghee has the highest smoke point & being the most stable fat that undergoes very little oxidation when heated, it makes for the first best medium to fry food. Second to ghee are filtered oils from local oilseeds like mustard, coconut, sesame and groundnut.

And, What about olive oil? Well, olive oil because of its low smoke point is not suited for deep frying. To know more about oils, do watch my You tube video on Olive oil v/s Indian traditional oils.

Question 3- Can we reuse the oil?

– Oil that you are frying in should not be reused as reusing oil oxidises the fat, forming free radicals and compounds which are harmful to our health. The only exception to this is Ghee, and that’s because of its unusually high smoke point.

Question 4 – Is deep fried food healthy?

– The answer to this is both yes and no. It is certainly healthy when you are making your deep fried stuff at home. Why? Because at home, you can make sure you are using nutrients and antioxidants rich ghee or filtered oils, you can also make sure you do not reuse the oil and eat them fresh and hot.

While you eat them outside say at restaurants, most of the time, these parameters are beyond our control. Also, most of the time, at restaurants and hotels, the deep frying is done twice, one before and one again just before serving you.

Question 5- How much can we eat?

– The act of overeating the healthiest food in the world can also create toxicity in the body. So like with everything, do not go overboard, eat slow and eat mindful.

Keep calm, eat the fried, and eat it wise!

Image credit- Google images

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods

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WHAT WE HEAR OFTEN : Myth or Fact?

“Olive oil is great for the heart, it controls cholesterol levels and if getting on a healthy diet is what you are thinking about, you got to switch to extra virgin olive oil”.

I am sure you are told this often and though most of us can’t remember who told us or when, this is surely one health message that has got through. Unfortunately, when it comes to food, we easily get carried away by (mis) information which may not always be based on facts.

Here’s my top three facts about Olive oil vs Indian Traditional Oils that all should know-


Cold pressed or virgin oils have lately found a place in all health stores globally, where as we, in our country, have been consuming it for centuries. Just that we didn’t give a fancy name to it and market its benefits. We called it kacchi ghani oils’. Traditionally, communities of oil pressers or “telis” as they are called, crush oilseeds to make cold pressed or virgin oil under lower temperatures that will not degrade the oil. Its nutrients, flavor, aroma and color is hence retained. Unlike industrial refining, this process does not use any solvents or chemicals.


In 2010, the University of California reported that most imported extra virgin olive oils aren’t extra virgin.


Oils that are made and labelled as extra virgin in one continent or country, loses its freshness, nutrients and qualities by the time it is imported and sold in another country. It is plain foolish for us to simply pick up these labels off the shelves. The local small mill or ghani that makes filtered oil after simply crushing the local oilseeds you give them is the freshest and the most virgin heart healthy oil that you can get for yourself.


In India, since thousands of years, the oil our grandmoms have been using is largely dependent on where they came from. In Kerala, it’s coconut oil, in Andhra and Rajasthan, it’s the sesame oil, mustard oil is used in the east and north India and in Maharashtra, Gujarat and central India groundnut oil is used. Diverse cultures eat differently and the type of oil fitted beautifully into the food landscape of that region.

Then somewhere in the 1980s, we were told that our oilseeds are bad for our heart and we were quick in switching to refined vegetable oils and virgin olive oil. Now fats are making a comeback and coconut has already been hailed as the superfood in the west. Fat loss, heart health, immunity, glowing skin, strong bones, shining hair – coconut oil has been linked to everything good. But its just not coconut, all our indigenous oilseeds be it mustard, groundnut or sesame are rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, phenols, vitamins and minerals. Just that the West has not yet woken up to its heart health and weight loss benefits. Moreover, unlike olive oil and vegetable oils, these oils blend better with our Indian cuisine. They have high smoke points which means their nutrients and qualities are retained and not lost at a higher cooking temperature which is most typical of Indian cooking.

The only place where it then lags is probably marketing. Neither it gets support from the government, nor gets endorsed by celebrities or gets advertised in fancy packing with health claims.


Traditional oil press/ kachhi ghani run by motor or bullock to make locally produced cold pressed/ filtered/ virgin oils is a living legacy. Now in danger of shutting down, we can help support it by taking their highly skilled service.

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with well-known Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate for the holistic wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods.

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