Selecting the right cooking oil for people with diabetes

May 31, 2018Diabetes Care

Selecting the right cooking oil for people with diabetes

May 31, 2018

Over the years we have all witnessed a never-ending debate around which oils are the healthiest. With the increased spending on marketing by different oil manufacturing brands, we end up looking a variety of oils on the shelves of a grocery store. Each brand is claiming to be the healthiest and it becomes really confusing to choose the right option.

When it comes to diabetes, it is very important to keep a check on your diet as the blood sugar levels are directly affected by what you eat. Hence, it is a must to win the battle and choose the correct oils for yourself. To ensure optimal fat quality the use of a combination of vegetable oils is important.

Let’s first start by looking out for what are the basic types of oils available on the market shelves.

The impact of an oil on your health is determined by the type of fat contained in it. Saturated oils like ghee, butter and coconut oil are easily digestible by bodies but they must be consumed in moderation. Whereas oils such as canola, corn, olive, groundnut, rice bran, safflower, soybean, sunflower, etc., are good sources of monosaturated & polysaturated fats, having all essential fatty acids that are good for the heart.

Earlier there was a lot of focus on using refined oils, which could be found in almost every kitchen. But, over the years studies have indicated that refining process removes some of the flavor, color, and nutrients from the oils, thereby reducing their healthiness quotient.

It’s important to keep a check on the daily intake of all oils combined together. Prefer unrefined (Kachi Ghani) or cold pressed oils versus refined oils. Ideally, use a combination of these oils or keep rotating them. A good practice is to buy small packs of oils and change to a new one every time you run out of it.

A few of the healthy oils are as follows:

  1. Canola oil is a plant-based oil derived from the rapeseed plant, rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Per a study conducted at University of Toronto, canola oil helps to lower blood glucose levels as well as bad cholesterol. Use it in salad dressings or in cooking.
  2. Olive oil contains an antioxidant, tyrosol, which helps improve insulin resistance. Use it for dressings, dipping, and low-heat cooking. Avoid high heat cooking and frying with olive oil.
    Olive oil can be graded as virgin, refined, pure or blended. Read carefully before buying. Virgin or extra-virgin means the oil has been produced using physical means with no chemical treatment during processing, resulting in a full-flavored oil. Extra-virgin oil is the highest grade. Refined means the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes and acids. Pure or simply labeled “olive oil” may be a combination of virgin and refined oil. Unfiltered one contains small particles of olive flesh. Light refers to flavorless or refined olive oil; it is not lower in calories. Blends are mixtures of olive oil and other, often less expensive, oils.
  3. Flaxseed oil contains mucilage, a type of fiber which slows digestion, allowing glucose from foods to be digested and released into the blood slowly. Thereby it prevents sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. It is often used as a dietary supplement rather than a cooking oil.
  4. Rice Bran oil is regarded as one of the healthiest oils for your heart. It is rich in antioxidants and mono & poly unsaturated fatty acids. Because of its high smoke point and suitability for high-temperature cooking methods such as deep-frying and stir-frying.
  5. Sesame oil is rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants. Light sesame oil has a nutty flavor and is good for frying, while dark sesame oil has a strong flavor and is generally added to dishes in small quantities for flavor just before serving. Sesame oil has a high smoke point and is the least prone among oils to turn rancid.
  6. Peanut oil is bland, made from pressed, steam-cooked peanuts. It has a high smoke point making it good for cooking involving high heat, like frying, because it does not absorb flavors.

Remember, as cooking oils are 100% fat and high in calories, use as little as possible. To minimize the amount of oil you use when cooking on the stovetop, try using nonstick pans and measuring spoons to check the volume of oil you add while cooking.

  1. Coconut Oil, known for its strong smell, contains minerals and vitamins that help manage diabetes by lowering the levels of triglycerides, and also helps in stabilizing the blood pressure. However, it contains saturated fats because of which it should be consumed only in moderation.
  2. Ghee is another healthy option. It is better than butter as it helps in digestion, improves the functioning of the brain and helps in weight loss when accompanied by exercise. Remember, it should only be taken in a small dosage s prescribed by your diet plans.
  3. Mustard oil is a great oil substitute for traditional cooking. It acts as a stimulant to help digestion and circulation. Its antibacterial and anti-viral properties, help fight germs, viruses, and keep a check on skin problems.

Once you are able to choose healthier oils, do not go overboard with their use. it is still important to control your daily oil intake. Avoid deep fried foods at all times. Choose pan fried items if you must have some. Also, try to brush your food with oils rather than just pouring it in the meals with a spoon. Use non-stick utensils for cooking which helps to cook without too much of oil.



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