Most urban Indians, including Mumbaikars, prefer to deep fry their food instead of choosing healthier options like steaming or boiling it.
This was revealed by a study in which nearly 2,000 respondents were surveyed in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata between an age group of 25 and 60 years to understand the most preferable cooking methods.
Deep frying food items emerged as the second most viable cooking method in urban families, including Mumbai, after sautéing. Boiled and steamed food was relegated to an unruly pit bottom.
Even doctors suggest using healthier cooking methods such as roasting, baking or currying meats or vegetables. “Deep frying loads the food with fat. Intake of natural items rich in fibre is preferable. More so, if frying is inevitable healthier options like mustard or sesame oil can be used,” said Dr Narendra Bansal, head of department, cardiology, JJ group of hospitals in Byculla.
The survey, conducted earlier this year, by market research firm Nielsen Company among nearly 2,000 households in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, showed that almost 69% of respondents prefer to deep fry their meals most of the times, while just 43% eat steam-cooked food. A notch higher, though, is a preference for sautéing with close to 78% respondents opting to stir fry and tossing their vegetables or meat plates.
The survey also revealed that respondents have also turned a blind eye to the type of oil used in cooking. Only 40% of respondents were aware that saturated fats are harmful to the body as they decrease the level of good cholesterol.
A mass-based web portal take on more than 2 lakh respondents from six metros earlier this month revealed that close to 54% of Mumbaikars over 30 years of age have low levels of good cholesterol, better known as high-density lipoprotein. Also, 72% of Mumbaikars were vulnerable to developing heart diseases with a majority in the 30-50 age group.
“A large number of people in the city consume vegetable oils, including groundnut oil and coconut oil, that have a good amount of saturated fat content. Moreover, they fry food in such oil for flavour. High amount of PUFA content in the body reduces good cholesterol content and increases chances of cardiovascular diseases,” said Salome Benjamin, past-president of Indian Dietary Association, Mumbai Chapter.
“Canola oil is emerging as a healthier option because of the least amount of saturated fat. But it is way too costly for the middle-class,” Benjamin added.