There is so much confusion about what oil should be used to cook with. It comes down to a few simple things. It’s chemical composition (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated) and ability of the oil to degrade, otherwise known as oxidize. Both go hand in hand. Forget about smoke points because it’s irrelevant. Smoke point doesn’t tell you if the oil is oxidizing or not. MOST omega 6 oils come oxidized from being highly processed and then further oxidize from heating right away even though they have a high smoke point.
Let’s first talk about chemical composition.
What is polyunsaturated vs monounsaturated vs saturated fats? They refer to the chemical bond composition of the oil. Saturated fat has no double bonds, monounsaturated fat has one double bond and polyunsaturated has multiple double bonds. Saturated fats have no double bonds which causes them to oxidize more slowly whereas polyunsaturated fats oxidize quicker.
Extra Virgin Oil Olive (EVOO) is a monounsaturated fat and is tops on the list to cook with because of its ability to withstand heat induced degradation and its high polyphenol content which protects the oil. Other good options to cook with are saturated fats like ghee, butter, coconut oil and avocado oil.
Which oils are the worst?
Canola, sunflower, vegetable, corn, grapeseed, soy, safflower, sunflower and seed oils. All are high in Omega 6. Canola is probably the worst to cook with (also known as rapeseed oil). Grape seed oil is devoid of polyphenols as well. Don’t confuse grape seed extract with grape seed oil.
Seed and vegetable oils are really high in Omega 6 – and are already oxidized before you cook with them because of the way they are processed to extract their oils. Think about how difficult it is to extract oil from soybeans and this will give you a glimmer into how processed the oil is. Chemical extractors, solvents, high heat, etc all damage/oxidize oil.
Polyphenols protect the oil from oxidizing.
When you buy EVOO that is cold pressed the oil is not damaged from being processed, isn’t already oxidized because of the gentle process of oil extraction and has built in polyphenols for extra protection. This is your best choice for cooking oil, by far. Best bought and kept in a dark glass bottle for extra protection.
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