What Is The Healthiest Oil To Fry?

When frying, we can use several types of oils. But not everyone knows which oil is the healthiest for this task. Find it out!
What is the healthiest oil to fry?

Fried foods have always been very popular. Oil is part of many traditional recipes and fried foods are a staple of the fast-food industry . But you don’t always use the healthiest oil for frying.

Frying at home doesn’t have to be unhealthy. What is harmful, in large part, is actually the type of oil we use and how we use it. We’ll explain it better below.

How does frying work?

Deep frying involves soaking a food in hot oil. The ideal temperature ranges between 176 and 190 °C. When a food is immersed in oil at this temperature, its surface cooks almost instantly and forms a kind of “seal” that the oil cannot penetrate.

At the same time, the moisture inside turns to steam, cooking food from the inside. Steam also helps keep oil out of the food.

If the temperature is too low, the oil will seep into the food, making it oily. If it is too high, it can oxidize the oil, as reported in this study by Dr. Christian Gertz . Some oils can withstand much higher temperatures than others.

fats in oil

The more saturated the fats, the more stable they are when heated. For this reason,  oils that are mostly saturated and monounsaturated are best. Therefore, we must avoid those that contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fats.

The latter will not be the healthiest oil to fry as, according to research by the Royal London Hospital’s School of Medicine, it can have negative health effects.

According to that publication, polyunsaturated fats contain two (or more) double bonds in their chemical structure. These double bonds tend to react with oxygen and form harmful compounds when exposed to high temperatures. 

Of course, taste is also important. For deep frying, oils that have a “neutral” taste are preferred .

What is the healthiest oil?

Coconut oil is the healthiest option for frying. As stated in a survey carried out by Dr. Yashi Srivastava, after 8 hours of continuous use to fry at 180 °C, its quality does not deteriorate. More than 90% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated, so it is very heat resistant.

Saturated fats used to be considered unhealthy, but new studies, like this one by McMaster University (in Canada), show that they are a completely harmless source of energy for humans.

Furthermore,  coconut oil has numerous health benefits. For example, it can help kill harmful bacteria and viruses. Even, according to a study carried out by the Federal University of Alagoas (in Brazil), it can help us lose abdominal fat.

It is important to consider that some varieties of this oil can leave a coconut flavor or aroma, so it is recommended to try a few different brands.

Other good options to consider

animal fats

Animal fats are also excellent frying options. This includes fats such as lard, tallow and runny fats. They taste good, add crunchy texture and don’t spoil easily when used for frying.

Most fatty acids in animal fats are saturated and monounsaturated, making them very resistant to high temperatures. However, according to a study by California State University, the fatty acid content can vary depending on the animal’s diet. 

Grain-fed animals, unlike grass-fed animals, may have many more polyunsaturated fatty acids in their fat stores.

Therefore,  only animal fat from naturally fed animals should be considered as a good option. You can buy ready-made lard from the store or keep the excess that runs off the meat for later use.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a healthier oil option for frying

It is one of the healthiest fats on Earth. It has  very high monounsaturated fatty acids that have only one double bond. Like saturated fats, monounsaturated fats are highly heat resistant.

According to a study carried out by the University of Porto (Portugal), olive oil can be used in a fryer for more than 24 hours before oxidizing. In theory, this makes it one of the healthiest oil options for frying. However, the flavor and fragrance of oil may not hold up well when heated for a long period of time.

avocado oil

The composition of avocado oil is similar to that of olive oil. Mainly, it is monounsaturated with some saturated fats and polyunsaturated mixtures. It has an extremely high smoke point of 270 °C and a nutty flavor.

peanut oil

Peanut oil for frying

Peanut oil has a high smoke point, around 230 °C. It is very popular for deep frying due to its neutral taste. It also does not absorb the flavor of food, so it can be used repeatedly to fry different foods, as highlighted by a study by Ohio State University (United States).

From a health standpoint, however, peanut oil is not a very desirable option. According to a survey conducted by the Central Food Technological Research Institute, it is somewhat high in polyunsaturated fat content (approximately 32%), making it vulnerable to damage at high temperatures.

Palm oil

It’s mostly made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats, so it’s a great healthy oil choice for frying. The flavor is said to be quite neutral, particularly that of the unrefined variety known as red palm oil. However, deep concerns were expressed about the sustainability of the palm oil harvest.

Fats and oils that should not be used for frying

Breaded fish and chips

There are several fats and oils that should definitely not be used for frying. This includes industrial vegetable oils. These oils are extracted from the seeds and undergo very aggressive processing methods. A study by the University of Florida highlights that they have a high content of polyunsaturated fats, up to 4% of the fatty acids contained in them are toxic trans fats.

On the other hand, research conducted by Kasturba Medical College suggests that using these oils for frying can result in large amounts of oxidized fatty acids and harmful compounds. Industrialized oil is definitely not the healthiest. As far as possible, avoid it.

It’s true that with the wrong oils, fried food is definitely bad for your health. However, by using the healthiest oil or at least one of the healthiest ones, you can occasionally taste fried food without guilt. Certainly, it will be better if you prepare it yourself.

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