If you follow the wellness world closely you’ll know that last year was a big year for good old oil.
No, not face oils, which also had a huge year in the spotlight – we’re talking about the regular household oil you cook your potatoes and pancakes with.
Health influencers touted the wildly controversial health benefits of coconut oil which then sparked a wider debate about which oils we should all be cooking.
There was a big song and dance about certain oils turning carcinogenic (having the potential to cause cancer) when they are heated, especially to the point of smoking (which is known as the ‘smoke point’) and everyone reeeeally freaked out.
Nutritionist Fiona Tuck, Author of The Forensic Nutritionist, noted this general worry when clients started telling her that they had stopped cooking with olive oil because it turns carcinogenic.
The fact is there’s a complex science behind which oils remain okay, and which turn ‘bad’, when cooking.
So much so that the Journal of Food Chemistry and Nutrition published a study on the very topic. The findings from the study are in line with Tuck’s advice to her clients.
“In my opinion, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) should be the go-to option when it comes to home cooking. It is the healthiest oil we can eat due to its rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”
“Whilst EVOO has a lower smoke point than some other vegetable oils, the high antioxidant content protects the oil from breaking down, thereby making it a safe oil to use during cooking,” Tuck told Mamamia.
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Tuck explained that many people believe that due to the low smoke point, EVOO breaks down and forms carcinogenic compounds (AKA really unhealthy stuff) when heated.
“Recent research found that EVOO is the safest and most stable oil to cook with. On the other hand, canola oil, grapeseed oil and rice bran oil were found to be least stable and produced the highest levels of trans fats and polar compounds when heated.”
So should we be worried about the smoke? Do we need to slowly sautee our pancakes on a low heat to be safe?