Health Risks of Reheating Vegetable Oils: ICMR Guidelines Warn


In a recent advisory, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued a stern warning about the health risks associated with reheating Vegetable Oils. This announcement has sparked considerable attention, given that reheating oils is a common practice in many kitchens across India. Understanding these guidelines and the reasons behind them can help us make better choices for our health.


The Science Behind the Warning

When vegetable oils are heated, they undergo chemical changes. These changes are magnified when the oils are reheated. The ICMR guidelines highlight that reheating oils can lead to the formation of harmful compounds such as trans fats and free radicals. These compounds are linked to various health issues, including heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.

Formation of Trans Fats

Trans fats are particularly dangerous because they increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. This imbalance can lead to clogged arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The ICMR warns that reheating vegetable oils, especially at high temperatures, promotes the formation of these unhealthy fats.

Production of Free Radicals

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases. Reheating vegetable oils can produce these harmful molecules, which are known to cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Practical Implications for Daily Cooking

The ICMR guidelines are clear: avoid reheating vegetable oils. But how can we implement this advice in our daily cooking routines?

Use Fresh Oil

The most straightforward solution is to use fresh oil every time you cook. While this might seem wasteful or expensive, it’s a small price to pay for better health. Using fresh oil ensures that you avoid the harmful compounds that come with reheated oils.

Choose the Right Cooking Methods

Opt for cooking methods that require less oil, such as baking, grilling, steaming, or roasting. These methods not only preserve the nutritional value of your food but also reduce the amount of oil you need to use.

Store Oils Properly

Proper storage of oils is crucial. Keep your oils in a cool, dark place to prevent them from breaking down. Always seal the container tightly to minimize exposure to air, which can accelerate the formation of free radicals.

Understanding the Types of Vegetable Oils

Not all vegetable oils are created equal. Some oils are more stable and less likely to produce harmful compounds when heated. Here’s a brief overview:

Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, making it a healthier choice for cooking. However, it’s best used for low to medium-heat cooking to preserve its beneficial properties.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which makes it more stable at high temperatures. It’s a good option for frying and other high-heat cooking methods.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is popular in Indian kitchens, but it contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which are more prone to breaking down when reheated. It’s better suited for salad dressings and low-heat cooking.

Canola Oil

Canola oil has a good balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making it a versatile choice. However, like sunflower oil, it should be used with caution for high-heat cooking.

Healthier Alternatives to Reheating Oils

Given the risks associated with reheating vegetable oils, it’s worth exploring healthier alternatives. Here are a few suggestions:

Use Air Fryers

Air fryers use hot air instead of oil to cook food, making them a healthier option. They can achieve the same crispy texture as deep frying without the need for large quantities of oil.

Embrace Non-Stick Cookware

Non-stick pans and cookware require minimal oil for cooking, reducing the need for reheating. They are especially useful for stir-frying and sautéing.


Try Oil Sprays

Oil sprays allow you to use a thin layer of oil, which can be sufficient for cooking without the need for reheating. This method helps control the amount of oil used and reduces waste.


The ICMR’s warning against reheating vegetable oils is a crucial reminder of the health risks associated with common cooking practices. By understanding these risks and adopting healthier cooking habits, we can protect ourselves from the harmful effects of trans fats and free radicals.

Stay Informed

For more information on healthy cooking practices and the latest health guidelines, visit Flypped. Stay updated with tips and advice to make better choices in your kitchen.

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