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What are Fats?
Fats are tri-glycerides of fatty acids and are the most concentrated source of calories. A gram of fat provides 9 calories of energy. Carbohydrate and protein provide 4 calories per gram. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. As you would notice, a gram of fat contains double the energy content in a gram of carbhohydrate or protein.

How does Fat affect the body?
The body uses fat as an energy source. Any extra dietary fat is converted to body fat and stored in fat cells. The human body has an unlimited capacity to store fat. The body can use these fat stores later for conversion to energy. Fat is necessary for the transportation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are A, D, E and K. Fat also helps to cushion the body’s organs and to maintain the body’s temperature.

Fats and oils are made up of basic units called fatty acids. Each type of fat or oil is a mixture of different fatty acids. Most of the fat in a person’s diet should come primarily from fats that contain mostly unsaturated fatty acids. These foods can be from both plant and animal sources. They are usually liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fatty acids include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Saturated fats are considered bad fats. They come mostly from animal foods and are usually solid at room temperature. The only plant sources of saturated fats are oils made from coconut and palm. Saturated fat in the diet should be limited to no more than 8% to 10% of total calories.

How important are fats in our diet?
The food we eat gives us nutrients – macronutrients and micronutrients. Fat is a macronutrient and is available to us as saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat. Our body uses all three types of fat. Dietary fat has very important functions in the body but only a moderate amount of fat is needed for good health. Too much fat or the wrong type of fat can be harmful. A healthy diet should have more unsaturated fat than saturated fat. Fat is the most concentrated source of calories. It provides 9 calories per gram as against carbohydrate and protein that provide 4 calories per gram. So any type of fat should be used sparingly in the diet.

A total fat intake of between 20% and 30% of total calories is recommended each day.

What are the different types of fats?
Fats could be saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats depending upon the fatty acids present. Each type of fat or oil is a mixture of different fatty acids.

The unsaturated fats come mainly from plant source and are usually liquid at room temperature. Examples of monounsaturated fats are canola, olive and peanut oils and that of polyunsaturated fat are safflower, corn and sunflower oils, soybean, many nuts and seeds. Saturated fats are considered bad fats. They come mostly from animal foods and are usually solid at room temperature. The only plant sources of saturated fats are oils made from coconut and palm.

What are the good fats?
The determination whether a fat is a good or a bad fat is based on the cholesterol deposition it causes in the arterial walls. Fats obtained from the plant sources i.e., the mono-unsaturated and the polyunsaturated fats are the good fats as they do not contain cholesterol and thereby do not lead to deposition of cholesterol in the arterial walls.

What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is not a fat. Bio-chemically it is called a ‘sterol’ It contains no calories, so the body cannot derive any energy from it. Cholesterol forms an integral part of the cell membranes throughout your body. Sort of like the mortar that holds the brick wall together. It is particularly important in the cellular structure of the brain and central nervous system and is an important component of the myelin sheath that provides insulation to the nerves. The body uses cholesterol to make bile acids, which are necessary for proper food digestion. It is also a vital part of adrenal and sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testo sterone) and it helps the body manufacture Vitamin D.

What Cholesterol does?
Cholesterol enters the body from saturated fats in animal sources, such as meat, poultry, egg yolks, liver, butter, cheese and other dairy products. The cholesterol goes to the liver where it joins the cholesterol that is made there. The cholesterol is transported from the liver to the cells by low density lipoproteins (LDL) which acts like a nutritional ferry boat, loading up the cholesterol and navigating through the bloodstream, stopping at cells and depositing cholesterol to the cells that need it. If a cell already has enough cholesterol, it ‘refuses delivery’ of the cholesterol cargo. The excess LDL stays in the blood where the cholesterol is deposited in the walls of arteries, causing atherosclerotic plaque. The more plaque that builds up, the narrower the arteries become, until eventually the blood supply to vital organs is reduced. This is why LDLs are known as the ‘bad cholesterol’.

What are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)?
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are the ones, which cannot be manufactured in the body. An important essential Fatty Acid is Omega -3 Fatty Acid, which comes mostly from fish sources. It must be derived from foods. Studies suggest that omega 3 may help lower the risk for heart disease and heart attack. The other essential Fatty Acid is Omega 6 Fatty Acid. While selecting an oil, it is important to look for a good EFA ratio.

EFAs are vital to the human brain and central nervous system. They also produce hormone-like substances that help regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and the immune system.

In Rice Bran Oil, the level of EFA () is 15% against the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 5 – 10%.

What is Oryzanol?
Oryzanol is a natural anti-oxidant and micro nutrient that fights free radicals. Free radicals are the crucial factors that could cause cancer, cardio vascular diseases. The key benefit of Oryzanol is it helps in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the good cholesterol (HDL) in blood. It also improves skin tone alleviates menopausal symptoms, stimulates nerves, relieves discomfit caused by malfunctioning of nervous system. The amount of Oryzanol present in refined rice bran oil is 1.2 – 1.7% .

What is tocopherol?
Tocopherol is a natural anti-oxidant. It reduces the incidence of stroke, lowers arterial lesions, reduces coronary blockage, reduces frequency of angina attacks and has protective action against LDL oxidation. The amount of tocopherol present in rice bran oil is 0.02 – 0.08%.

What is tocotrienols?
Tocotrienols is a natural anti-oxidant. It present in the unsap matter inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, inhibit platelet aggregation, suppress cholesterol production in liver, protects skin from damage by UV radiation, reduces severity of hepato carcinogenesis and inhibit growth of human breast cancer cells.

What is Squalene?
Squalene is an Anti-oxidant, present in RBO which improves skin tone and delays formation of wrinkles in skin, retards ageing effects. Acts as anti-dandruff and anti-itching agent. The amount of Squalene present in RBO is 0.3 – 0.4%.

Are filtered oils healthier than refined oils?
There are pros and corns of refining the oils. Oil refinement is relevant when we talk about the smoking point of an oil. As a rule, the less refined an oil, the lower its smoke point. Refinement processes, including degumming, bleaching and deodorizing, reduce an oil’s chemical instability, making it more appropriate for cooking at higher temperatures.

What is a smoke point?
Molecular makeup is pertinent to nutrition, because it determines a particular oil’s suitability for various types of cooking. Depending on its structure, an oil can withstand only a certain level of heat before it begins to break down chemically and release toxic byproducts detrimental to both a dish’s flavor and diner’s health. The temperature at which oil discolors and decomposes is called its ‘flash points’ or ‘smoke point’. Oil refinement is relevant here too. As a rule, the less refined oil, the lower its smoke point. The higher the free fatty acids or FFA, the lower the Smoke Point. Rice Bran Oil has the highest smoking point of 490 C.

What is FFA?
Free fatty acid or FFA in an unrefined or refined oil is an indication of the extent of fatty acids that are in the free form (without triglycerides). Oils which are not properly refined have higher FFA and when such higher FFA oils are ingested, they cause indigestion and vomiting in the human body.

What is Peroxide Value?
PV or peroxide value represents the extent of oxidation that the oil sample has undergone. The extent of oxidation depends on many factors including temperature of storage, medium of storage or heating (metal or non-metal) extent of un-saturation in the oil etc., The higher the PV, higher the oxidation of the oil sample and lower the useful shelf life of the product.

Importance of color in edible oils?
The color in crude oil is removed to a large extent during the process of refining, bleaching and high temperature do-odorizing. Generally, the color is thereafter ‘set’. However, in the case of some sensitive oils like soybean oil, the color actually turns darker or color reversion takes place during storage due to the effect of light and heat.