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Not all types of fat withstand heat well and are suitable for frying and baking. To choose the right one, you need to pay attention to its smoke point and fatty acid composition. High temperatures during frying cause the breakdown of fats and the formation of compounds toxic to he alth, so it is best to choose frying fats with a high content of saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids, such as clarified butter, rapeseed oil, refined olive oil or rice oil.

Frying is a very popular type of heat treatment in Poland. In order not to harm your he alth, you should choose the fat according to the method and time of frying - it is important whether you fry the dish briefly, e.g. while preparing vegetables or scrambled eggs, or for a long time, in deep fat, where the dish is partially or completely immersed in it. During thermal treatment at too high temperature, fat breaks down into free fatty acids and glycerol, which are transformed into aldehydes, ketones and acrolein with mutagenic effects, which are harmful to he alth. When the fried product contains proteins and carbohydrates, carcinogenic acrylamide is produced. The unfavorable changes taking place in the fat are evidenced by the smoke and the characteristic smell associated with low-quality bar food. Oils oxidize during frying, which also adversely affects he alth, promotes atherosclerosis and inhibits the activity of digestive enzymes.

What affects the suitability of fat for frying?

Frying fatshould be as resistant as possible to high temperature and its processes. This criterion is met by fats which:

  • contain mostly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids,
  • have the lowest possible proportion of polyunsaturated fats,
  • have been refined,
  • have a high smoke point - at least 180 ° C.

The most stable fatty acids during frying are saturated fatty acids, then monounsaturated fatty acids, while polyunsaturated fatty acids are temperature-sensitive and oxidize and break down very quickly.A good frying fatshould contain as little polyunsaturated fatty acids as possible, preferably less than 15%. It should consist mainly of saturated and monounsaturated acidsfatty. Due to the fact that in Poland the consumption of saturated fats is very high, it is better to choose vegetable oils with a predominance of monounsaturated fats (such as refined olive oil) to maintain the balance of frying.

The temperature at which fat is smoked is also very important, i.e. the moment when it begins to break down into compounds that are harmful to he alth, loses its nutritional value and has a negative effect on the taste of the dish. It is accompanied by the release of acrid smoke. Under no circumstances should such fat be used further. The higher the smoke point, the longer the fat will withstand frying. It is worth knowing that it is best to fry in refined oils. Unrefined oils contain ingredients such as such as dyes and flavors which burn at high temperatures and become harmful. Therefore, they should be used only raw, thus using the full nutritional value of the oil.

Smoke temperature of fats

Type of fatSmoke temperature [° C]
clarified butter252
Refined olive oil242
unrefined olive oil191
Refined coconut oil232
Unrefined coconut oil177
Refined rice oil250
Unrefined rice oil215
Refined rapeseed oil204
Unrefined rapeseed oil110
Refined sunflower oil227
Unrefined sunflower oil107
Refined soybean oil238
Unrefined soybean oil160
Refined grape seed oil216
Linseed oil107

What is the best fat to fry?

To sum up - the main determinant of the suitability of fat for frying is high smoke point and high content of saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids. Taking these criteria into account, it is best to choose clarified butter, lard, coconut oil, refined olive oil, rice oil and rapeseed oil for frying. When choosing fat for thermal processing, it is also worth taking into account the frying time and the taste of the dish. For frying scrambled eggsregular butter (unclarified) is suitable, although it has a low smoke point - the egg white will cut faster than the butter will overheat. Clarified butter is able to withstand high temperatures well and tastes best with vegetables, white meats and fish. Fry red meat well in lard.

Lard - suitable for frying

Contains 44% saturated fatty acids and 43% monounsaturated fatty acids, and at the same time has an optimal smoke point. Lard is considered an unhe althy frying fat due to the presence of saturated fatty acids, but there is increasing talk about the overestimated effect of saturated fat on heart disease. Culinary, it is best suited for frying meat, and with vegetables it does not create a tasty combination.

Butter - only suitable for very short frying

Despite the favorable composition of fats, it should not be used for frying. Butter starts to burn at low temperatures because it contains proteins. They can only be used for making eggs.

Clarified butter - suitable for frying

Clarifying the butter makes it purified of proteins. Clarified butter contains 60% saturated fat and 37% monounsaturated fat. At the same time, it has a very high smoke point - approx. 250 ° C. You can fry it long and in deep fat.

Rapeseed oil - suitable for short frying

Rapeseed oil contains a lot of unsaturated fats and has a very high smoke point, but nearly 30% of its composition consists of polyunsaturated fats, which are very susceptible to degradation at high temperatures. The longer the frying time, the more compounds harmful to he alth are formed. Therefore, it is best to fry briefly in rapeseed oil, e.g. chicken fillet, fish or vegetables.

Coconut oil - suitable for frying

Refined coconut oil has a high smoke point and is composed of nearly 90% saturated fatty acids. Research shows that consuming coconut fat does not raise blood cholesterol levels. In terms of technology, it is a very good fat, even for long-term frying.

Rice oil - suitable for frying

The favorable composition of fatty acids and high smoke point mean that you can fry with rice oil even for a long time and at high temperatures. It has a neutral taste, so it can be used for a variety of dishes.

Refined olive oil - suitable for frying

In the case of oil, it must be said that you can only fry in refined olive oil.Unrefined, it contains substances that are very he althy when raw, become toxic to the body under the influence of high temperatures. Refined olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids and has a high smoke point, so you can fry on it.

Don't do that

When selecting fat for frying, avoidsunflower oil ,soybeanandgrape seedbecause even 2/3 of their composition are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which do not tolerate high temperatures well. It's better not to fry onmargarine , which not only can consist of only 20% fat, but also most likely contains trans fats that are harmful to your he alth.

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Which fat should I choose for baking?

Hard margarines work very well in homemade cakes and cookies, as they make the baked goods light and fluffy. However, there is a high risk that they contain trans fats that are harmful to your he alth. Scientific research shows that the consumption of trans fatty acids raises the level of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, increases the risk of atherosclerosis, increases inflammatory processes and insulin resistance. Their consumption according to the recommendations should be as low as possible and should not exceed 1% of the daily portion of energy from the diet. In Poland, producers are not required to specify the fatty acid composition on the product label, so most of them do not contain exact information about the content of trans fats. To choose a good margarine, avoid those that contain hardened / hydrogenated vegetable oils / fats. When using vegetable oil for baking, its selection should be guided by similar guidelines as in the case of frying oils. They must be resistant to high temperatures, and additionally have a neutral taste that will not affect the final aroma of the baking.

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