Don’t know which oil to use when frying food? Believe it or not, the best bet is still olive oil.
Tunisian scientists have found that olive oil is more stable and healthful than seed oils for frying food, as it withstands the heat of the fryer or pan better than several seed oils to yield more healthful food.
Different oils have a range of physical, chemical and nutritional properties that can degrade oil quality when heated, noted Mohamed Bouaziz, professor at the University of Sfax, Tunisia, and colleagues.
According to them, some of these changes can lead to the formation of new compounds that are potentially toxic. By-products of heating oil can also lower the nutritional value of the food being fried.
Bouaziz’s team wanted to find out which cooking oil can maintain its quality under high heat and repeated use.
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The researchers deep- and pan-fried raw potato pieces in four different refined oils — olive, corn, soybean and sunflower — and reused the oil 10 times.
They found that olive oil was the most stable oil for deep-frying at 320 and 374 degrees Fahrenheit, while sunflower oil degraded the fastest when pan-fried at 356 degrees.
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Therefore, the scientists concluded that for frying foods, olive oil maintains quality and nutrition better than seed oils.
“Monitoring of Quality and Stability Characteristics and Fatty Acid Compositions of Refined Olive and Seed Oils during Repeated Pan- and Deep-Frying Using GC, FT-NIRS, and Chemometrics,” Akram Zribi, Hazem Jabeur, Felix Aladedunye, Ahmed Rebai, Bertrand Matthäus, Mohamed Bouaziz, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry September 29, 2014