Smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and smoke.
This is important because the smoking and burning of an oil renders it very bad for us!
Overheating an oil destroys the beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals in that oil. But worse than that, when you cook with oil that’s been heated past its smoke point, you create free radicals. Free radicals damage every cell of our bodies and are a culprit behind the development of cancers.
Different oils have different “smoke points”. In general, the more refined or processed an oil is, the higher its smoke point because refining removes impurities and free fatty acids that can cause the oil to smoke. So this is good, right? We should all be reaching for the refined oils perhaps? Not so fast.
Here’s how those refined oils are produced.
The food industry wants to extend the shelf life of our healthy unsaturated fats, the ones that are less heat stable by nature. They do this with a process called hydrogenation – which makes it act a little more like a saturated fat by artiﬁcially adding in some hydrogen gas. This does in fact, make it a little less delicate and create a longer shelf life, but the process lowers the quality of the oil and converts some of its components into an entirely new form called trans fats. This dangerous new fat increases blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increases the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), among many other health risks.
So nope, simply using these refined oils in all your cooking is not the best solution. Instead, use the chart below that shows which fats are more vulnerable to heat and shouldn’t be cooked with. These ones make good oils for dressings and cold sauces or spreads.
Read more HERE.
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