Type of vegetable oils used in cooking and risk of metabolic syndrome among Asian Indians

January 1, 2012 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Type of vegetable oils used in cooking and risk of metabolic syndrome among Asian Indians

Year: 2012
Authors: Lakshmipriya, N. Gayathri, R. Praseena, K. Vijayalakshmi, P. Geetha, G. Sudha, V. Krishnaswamy, K. et. al.
Publication Name: Int. J. of Food Sci.& Nutr.
Publication Details: Early Online; Pages 1 – 9


There is little data on the type of vegetable oil used and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) in Asian Indians. Food frequency questionnaire was used to document the type of cooking oil in 1875 adults in Chennai city. MS was assessed by new harmonizing criteria. The prevalence of MS was higher among sunflower oil users (30.7 percent) than palmolein (23.2percent) and traditional oil (17.1 percent, p less than 0.001) users. The higher prevalence of MS in sunflower oil group persisted even when stratified according to body mass index, except in obese groups. The risk of MS was further compounded by quantity of refined cereals consumed. Higher LA percent and linoleic acid to alpha linolenic acid (ALA) ratio in sunflower oil probably contributes to increased risk of MS. (Authors abstract)
Currently, there are an estimated 62.4 million people with diabetes and 77.2 million with pre-diabetes in India. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS), a cluster of metabolic abnormalities including central obesity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidaemia and hypertension is also high among Asian Indians. In addition, this population has an inherent susceptibility to insulin resistance and thus making them more prone to diabetes. Earlier studies in this population have shown that physical inactivity, high intake of dietary glycaemic carbohydrates mainly derived from refined grains and low intake of vegetables and fruits were associated with increased risks for dyslipidaemia, MS, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
The consumption of vegetable oils has increased threefold in developing countries like India. The most commonly used cooking oils in this population are sunflower (64 percent) and palmolein oil (23 percent), whereas the traditional oils such as groundnut (peanut) (7percent) and sesame (2 percent) are less often used. Sunflower oil provides higher linoleic acid (LA) (about 66 percent) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), PUFA to saturated fatty acids (SFAs) ratio (0.2) and total LA to alpha linolenic acid (ALA) ratio (.30). Epidemiological studies have shown that LA intake and high LA to ALA ratio are associated with insulin resistance and the related metabolic disorder. The present study aimed to evaluate the association of vegetable cooking oils and risk of MS in an urban south Indian population studied at Chennai. Participants who used sunflower oil as the main cooking oil showed higher prevalence of MS (30.7 percent), and their diet also had higher PUFA (7.6 percent energy) and LA to ALA ratio (38.1) compared to palmolein and traditional oil (groundnut and sesame) users. The sunflower oil group also showed higher insulin resistance than other oil users. This urban Indian population not only consumed a high carbohydrate diet predominantly derived from refined cereals but majority of them also used sunflower oil as the main vegetable cooking oil. The synergistic effect of increased refined grains plus use of sunflower oil may possibly explain the high prevalence of MS in this population. Use of linoleic acid diets (LA PUFA) has been shown to result in higher fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin compared to oleic acid-rich Mediterranean diets. The LA rich sunflower oil group showed significantly higher insulin resistance with higher percentage of subjects having impaired fasting glucose. In this population, the intake of n3 PUFA rich foods like fish is low (20 g/day). The use of traditional sesame oil over a 45-day period lowered blood pressure, plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and serum TG among Asian Indians. Use of LA PUFA rich oils like sunflower oil could aggravate the risk of MS particularly in Asian Indian population who habitually consume cereal staple diet mainly consisting of refined grains with low intakes of ALA. To reduce the LA to ALA ratio use of single oil may not be adequate to provide recommended intake of all fatty acids. Hence use of blended oils with lower LA to ALA ratio, dietary sources of ALA or EPA and DHA along with use of whole grains could potentially alleviate the risk of insulin resistance and MS in Asian Indians. (Editors comments)

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