Are These Cooking Oils Putting Your Health At Risk?

Cooking oils at the wrong temperature may be putting your health at risk. Are you guilty of using the wrong oil?

cooking oil

What is an oil smoke point?

An oil’s smoke point is the highest temperature it can be heated until it stops shimmering and starts to burn, which is also known as the burning point.

When your oil reaches its burning point you may notice it starting to smoke. This means the oil is starting to break down and will start to release free radicals which are very harmful to our bodies.

Olive Oil

  • Great for sautéing
  • Smoke point 390° F

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Perfect for drizzling on dips like hummus, salads, bread, etc.
  • Burns at high heat – smoke point 375° F

Peanut Oil

  • Best for stir-frying and deep-frying (fries, chicken, etc.)
  • 450° F smoke point
  • Reusable – doesn’t absorb flavors
  • High in unsaturated fatty acids

Avocado Oil (refined)

  • High in healthy fat
  • Mild buttery flavor
  • Can withstand very high cooking heat, 520 – 570° F smoke point
  • Great for searing, grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, baking, smoothies, dips, and drizzling over cold soups and veggies before roasting.

Vegetable Oil

  • A neutral flavor
  • A mix of different oils; sunflower, peanut, canola, corn, and soybean
  • High smoke point of 400° F
  • Used for searing, roasting, frying
  • Great for baking
  • Bad for health (hydrogenated trans fats)

Canola Oil

  • Sister to vegetable oil
  • Contains hydrogenated trans fats (bad for health)
  • Smoke point of 400° F
  • Usually used for frying, baking, and roasting

Coconut Oil

  • Perfect for baking, frying
  • Cold-pressed and virgin
  • Smoke point of 350° F, refind 450° F
  • A nice butter substitute
  • Slight coconut flavor

Ghee / Clarified butter

  • Lactose and casein-free (dairy-free)
  • High smoke point of 450-485° F
  • Ideal for roasting, sauteing, and great as a spread

Grapeseed Oil

  • High smoke point of 420 – 445° F
  • Neutral flavor – won’t change the taste of food
  • Good to bake with
  • Great for searing, grilling, sautéing, and drizzling over salads
  • High in omega 6 and 9 – can increase inflammation levels, and cholesterol when consuming too much.

Butter

  • Smoke point 300° F
  • Not an oil but used with oil in many recipes
  • Perfect for baking and as a spread
  • Sautéing

Unrefined or refined oil?

  • Unrefined oils have a lower smoke point. They are left in their natural state and you may notice labels like raw, unrefined, and virgin.
  • Refined oils are processed which results in neutral flavors and high smoke points.

If any oil you buy contains more than 50% of polyunsaturated oil then its not safe to cook with because it will start to release free radicals that are harmful. These would be oils like vegetable and canola oil.

The best oils for everyday cooking

  • Avocado Oil
    • High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats
    • One of the highest smoke points
    • Great for cooking and baking
  • Ghee/Clarified butter
    • High in saturated fats
    • Swap for butter when baking or cooking
    • High smoke point

These are my top two picks for everyday cooking, especially if you cook meats. Be sure to stay away from vegetable oils and canola oil.

Which cooking oil to fry with?

Any oil that has a smoke point above 400° F is great for frying because foods usually start to fry around 350 – 450° F. Coconut oil and avocado oil are healthy oils to fry with compared to canola which is loaded with unhealthy trans fats.

Have you been cooking with the wrong oil?



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