If you are familiar with Dherbs, you know that we do not support fried foods. If you are new to Dherbs, we don’t like fried foods. Our distaste for fried foods goes beyond the fat and salt content, though. There are dangers of fried foods that not a lot of people like to discuss. It comes down to the oils.
When people fry food, they typically use vegetable, corn, soybean, or canola oils. These oils, specifically canola oil, are popular to use for frying because they are cheap. Not a lot of people know that a high percentage of these oils are genetically modified and unstable in high temperatures.
Canola oil is somewhat hydrogenated as well, meaning the oil gets heated from 500-1,000 degrees in different atmospheres before being introduced to a catalyst. That means that the omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain health, turn into trans fats, which can lead to high cholesterol levels and poor kidney, liver, cardiovascular health. But it is easy and cheap to produce so the food industry carries on.
Let’s paint a picture for a second. You are frying a piece of fish or chicken in canola oil. You contaminate your body before you even eat what you fried. Oils like canola, corn, or soybean generate high levels of aldehydes when subjected to high temperatures. These temperatures exceed the smoke point, which is the point when oils start producing toxic compounds. The lower the smoke point, the more toxic the oil can be.
We mentioned the word “aldehyde” in the above paragraph. Aldehydes are toxic compounds, which actually get used in things like perfumes, soaps, lotions, or different food items. For instance, aldehydes are used to flavor vanilla ice cream or cinnamon. Other healthier oils like coconut or extra virgin olive oil won’t produce these aldehydes as quickly because they have higher smoke points.
When you fry food, you run the risk of exposing yourself to these toxic aldehydes. You don’t see them, but you can inhale them. Sunflower and corn oils generate the highest levels of aldehydes, while coconut and olive oils produced lower levels. Surprisingly, butter and lard also generated low aldehyde levels, but they are incredibly fattening and can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Rather than using cheaper vegetable or corn oils in the kitchen, we recommend using coconut, avocado, or extra virgin olive oils. These have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Try to avoid frying food altogether and focus on sautéing or roasting your food. Invest in your future by taking care of what you put in your body.