This is from my very old blog (low carb princess) when I first forayed into the low carb lifestyle. I’ve updated some information to make it more current 🙂
Conventional Wisdom as led us to believe that “vegetable” oil and olive oils are the best to cook with – but are they?
Vegetable oil, such as canola oil is a man-made product. It possesses omega-3 fatty acids which is good for our health. However, canola oil is heavily processed – going through high-temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extract, usually using hexane!
Do you want to be ingesting something that has been processed using this chemical?
In addition to the above process, most vegetable oils also go through the process of bleaching, degumming, deodorising, and caustic refining, at very high temperatures. This ultimately alters the omega-3 content in the oil, and in certain conditions bring up the trans fat level as high as 40 percent.
So, do you still want to use vegetable oils in your cooking?
Now, onto Olive Oil. This is touted to be the healthiest oils of all, right?
Not all olive oils are created equal. What you want is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).
And you ask why Extra Virgin? Because it is the least processed oil.
Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fat and polyphenols, which is beneficial to our health.
But the questions is – should you be cooking with EVOO?
Unfortunately, the healthiest oil has the lowest smoke point. Extra Virgin Olive Oil goes from superfood to carcinogen at temperatures as low as 137 degrees celsius (olive oil smoke points vary by type and brand). The more omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats in the oil, the less suitable it is for cooking as it is very susceptible to oxidative damage. The heat not only damages the fatty acids, it can also change them into harmful substances.
A food expert called George Mateljan said that olive oil should not get hotter than 93-121 degrees celsius – as the temperature rises, all those nutrients are literally burned out of the oil, along with the colour, and toxic fumes start to rise from the pan. If you look at the olive oil after it’s been cooked at high temps, it is runny and brown! Not that lovely green colour.
People need to know how to correctly use olive oil in order to reap the benefits. Save the olive oil for the END of the cooking process.
You ask, WHAT can I cook with?
Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with!
Why? Because they are much more stable at high heat and less inflammatory than polyunsaturated oils.
This is why tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils are best for cooking… they have very little polyunsaturated fats and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat/light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use.
However, coconut oil may not be to everyone’s taste. Steak cooked in coconut oil is not particularly pleasant, unless you really love coconut. Bacon cooked in coconut oil is alright.
Palm oil on the other hand is very controversial. There are two types, palm kernel oil and red palm oil. You’ll be wanting to use the latter. Why? Palm kernel oil is refined and highly processed, the oil you do not want to be ingesting.
Red Palm oil offers many benefits in that it is rich with medium chain fatty acids (like coconut oil), as well as carotenoid content. It is also has the most abundant amount of vitamin A & E of any plant based oil.
What’s the controversial bit about palm oil? The way it’s obtained. It is associated with rainforest and Orangutan habitat destruction.
Enough about red palm oil… did you can cook with clarified butter, more known as GHEE? You can make it yourself or buy it from any indian/asian grocery store. This has a high smoke point, which is perfect for frying. I cook everything in ghee. Makes me happy 😛
This is the brand I use
Other fats that should be considered are dripping (the fat from beef), lard (fat from pork), and duck fat (particularly delicious to roast your sweet potatoes). All natural, no processing, no chemicals.
Out and over for now,