Whether we go to the store or are already at the stove, a question comes up: which oil should we take? The frequent occurrence of several names, but the relative merits of different oils for frying or salad dressings, remain unclear. You may be familiar with using sunflower oil for cooking, but they are also refined and non-refined. So, I decided to talk to an expert and find out what the differences are between them, which ones are better to choose, and what the pitfalls are.
It is critical to determine whether your oil is refined or unrefined. Most of us know that unrefined means that the oil hasn’t been very much processed, and refined means that the oil has been very much processed. Both can be used, but you need to know how to do it.
How is refined and unrefined oil different?
Unrefined oils are considered more useful because for their production, raw materials, such as seeds or nuts, are simply sent under a press. Thanks to this, most of the useful substances remain in the product. And this oil is more aromatic and has a more pronounced taste.
However, there are certain disadvantages to unrefined oil. In fact, it was not cleaned of impurities in any way: pesticides, traces of metals, dioxins, hydrocarbons and similar things. In addition, it is more difficult to store, you cannot heat it because this will contribute to the formation of carcinogens harmful to the body.
That is why most oils are refined — a multi-stage purification of everything but triglyceride fats to raise the acceptable temperature for further use. So, for example, unrefined sunflower oil can safely withstand 107 degrees, and refined — 230 degrees. And also, if you know how to store oil, the purified product can live longer on the kitchen shelves. However, in refined oil, along with harmful impurities, many useful substances are cleaned, as well as the rich taste of raw materials.
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What is the damage ti both types of oils
Basically, neither refined nor unrefined oil is harmful, but they can become so due to excessive use and imbalance of different types of fatty acids, as well as their misuse. The fact is that each oil has a smoke point — that is, the temperature at which the oil overheats and begins to emit carcinogens. Why should they be afraid? Many studies indicate that carcinogens cause a high incidence of genetic, mutagenic, tumorigenic and other types of cancer. Therefore, these chemicals should be avoided.
The smoking temperature of all unrefined oils is lower than the temperature of refined oils and ranges from 100 to 190 degrees. We increased the temperature and voila: we have carcinogens. On the other hand, in refined oils, the smoke point almost always starts from 200.
Here is information on the smoke point of the most popular oils:
- unrefined sunflower oil — 107 degrees
- refined sunflower oil — 232 degrees
- unrefined olive oil – 190–210 degrees
- refined olive oil – 199–243 degrees
- unrefined coconut oil — 177 degrees
- refined coconut oil — 204 degrees
- unrefined sesame oil — 177 degrees
- refined sesame oil — 232 degrees
- unrefined corn oil — 178 degrees
- refined corn oil – 230–238 degrees
- unrefined rapeseed oil — 107 degrees
- refined rapeseed oil — 204 degrees
Refined oils, however, also have carcinogenic risks. Here they are released when reheated. At home, we rarely fry something in the same oil, but fast-food deep-frying is a carcinogenic trap because the oil there is often reheated many times.
There are also studies that claim that refined oils, due to their saturation with polyunsaturated fatty acids, increase the risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD) and type 2 diabetes. However, in reality, these risks exist only from the excessive use of refined oils and only them. If unrefined oils and animal fats are added to the diet, such problems should not arise.
What oils to choose for frying
So let’s summarize. The average oil heating temperature during frying is 160–190 degrees. When the product is added to the pan, the temperature drops slightly and stays at 120–160 degrees. Therefore, when choosing to oil for frying and other heat treatment processes, consider the smoking temperature. For example, unrefined coconut oil is safe up to 177 degrees, so, let’s say, it is quite normal in baking because it will not heat above 160 degrees with the rest of the products.
But unrefined sunflower oil overheats already at 110 degrees, so we add it only to salads. But in order not to read all the facts about smoking, you can simply agree not to fry or bake dishes based on unrefined oils. Both of these nutrients and fats should be combined in the diet to achieve a balance of nutrients and fats. Cook and be healthy!
Disclaimer. This article is informative. Before using this or that product, consult your family doctor or a dietitian.