The Question of Well-Oiled Liver

Palm Oil Proposition of PM Modi raises Concern for Master of Metabolism


New Delhi: Fatty liver being escalating cause of liver illnesses in India, the palm oil proposition by PM Modi is raising the question of liver health. On World Liver Day- the question as to what is the well-oiled liver- in context of palm oil came up for deliberation. Liver experts refrained from branding any particular edible oil as villain of the piece for master organ of metabolism. They stressed the quantity of oil as the crucial consideration.

Even Olive Oil, which liver experts rated as the best, used in excess is as harmful for the liver as other lesser oils. The catch is: in rating oil health wise, this quantity question is never addressed prominently. The fact is there is no oil which people can use in excess with impunity. The oil question came up during Artemis Hospital’s press conference on World Liver Day (April19) in which the hospital showcased its history making Liver Transplant. It claimed that its was the India’s first successful Liver transplant with 67 % shunt fraction. The oil theme was addressed by them too.

PM Modi has recently announced his big plans to expand palm oil production saying it can be game changer for the economy and boost the nation’s self-reliance. But it has raised some concerns, not only for environment but for liver as well. Palm oil is being regarded as recipe for fatty liver which might lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer if left untreated. Nonalcoholic fatty liver is emerging as a major cause of liver diseases in India. Studies have shown prevalence of fatty liver in 9 to 32 % of general population in India.

In Artemis Press conference, experts were asked to rate Palm oil in terms of the health of liver. But the experts refused to be drawn into the palm oil controversy and also to name any oil for that matter. But Dr Sakshi Karkra, Head, Pediatric Gastroenterology and hepatology made an exception and batted for Olive Oil but to a question, she made it plain that quantity of oil consumed much matters. Even olive oil consumed in excess will be as much harmful. There is no license for unrestrained use of olive. Even this oil must be used in moderation. Dr Giriraj Bora, Chief Liver transplant of Artemis hospital also concurred.

In researches for healthy oils, this very important element of quantity is often bypassed. Dr Anoop Mishra, Chairman, Fortis C Doc Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology led the research on olive oiland Canola oils way back in 2014. In this research around 90 people with fatty liver were enrolled. According to him, trial conducted over six months, demonstrated multiple health benefits including that of liver. The results of the study showed fatty liver disappeared in around 67% of people who received olive oil. To a question, Dr Mishra had also made it clear that excess quantity of even olive oil is harmful for liver.

But quantity question discussed did not get much traction. The very next day of announcement of research outcomes, the olive oil company which sponsored the study seduced people to consume as much JALEBI fried in olive oil as they wanted without worrying about any harm. The company used research as license to seduce people to excessively useolive oil.

So, beware of the slippery slope of edible oils and use oil flaunted by celebrities in ads with a pinch of salt.

The ads of edible oils are mostly ill founded. People should be wary of claims peddled by actors, sports persons and celebrities. They must take lessons from fiasco of former cricketer Saurabh Ganguly’s ad of Fortune oil for healthy heart. The joke on him was that he himself suffered heart attack right in the middle of his ad. Fortune oil had to eat a humble pie and in hasty retreat dumped the cricketer temporarily. Interestingly enough Saurav Ganguly has again started trumpeting the virtues of Soyabin Nutrell of the same Fortune company, probably thinking public memory is short.


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