May 19, 2024
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ABC Nutrition Discusses High Heat Oils

Cooking with high heat for a long period of time can actually burn your oil. Not only does this produce an unpleasant and smoky odor, it can lead to health problems. This is referred to as cooking past an oil’s smoke point. Once an oil reaches its smoke point, it gives off toxic fumes and free radicals that are extremely harmful to your body. The good news is ABC Nutrition is here to provide some guidance about which cooking oils are best for high heat and their smoke points.

  1. Avocado Oil: (Smoke point 520 degrees) This is one of the highest smoke points for nutritionally dense cooking oils. In fact, if you must deep fry, it is actually preferred for deep frying. Avocado oil can be a little more expensive than your typical vegetable oil, but has added benefits that make it worth it. Avocado oil contains about 20 different vitamins and minerals and has fiber. It even contains the antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene which are excellent for keeping eyes strong and skin clear. This oil is great for sauteing or roasting vegetables as its light flavor is not too robust.
  2. Unrefined Extra Virgin Olive Oil: (Smoke point 375 – 405 degrees) What’s the difference between all those olive oils you see in the store? Extra virgin oils are made from the first cold pressing of the olives, which contains the strongest, fruitiest flavors. This is ideal because the oil has gone through the least amount of processing and chemicals. Avoid the olive oils labeled “pure” or “light” simply because the extra virgin has the most health benefits. Olive oil is generally considered a more delicate oil. Its smoke point is not as high as other oils and therefore breaks down at lower temps. For this reason, it is recommended to use olive oil not for cooking, but for fresh salads and dips.
  3. Almond Oil: (Smoke point 420 degrees) Another cooking oil high in healthy fats. Your heart, skin and hair will thank you for it. It is also a superior source of Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce chronic disease. When shopping, always make sure the label reads “food grade” or “for culinary use” since most of these oils are also sold as skin and hair moisturizers. This oil should not be left to cook for an extended period and goes well with sauteed vegetables such as spinach or kale.

If, while cooking on high heat your oil starts to smoke, immediately remove from heat and throw the food away. Not only does the smoke ruin the taste of your food, it has negative health effects. Eating oils past their smoke point is unhealthy and introduces toxic free radicals in your body. Always store cooking oils in a cool, dark place away from sunlight.

By Bess Berger, RDN, CDN, CLT


Bess Berger is a registered dietitian and started ABC Nutrition and Wellness to provide exceptional nutritional coaching tailored to each individual. Located in Teaneck, Bess has daytime and evening hours and weekend hours upon request. She can be reached at 201-281-0787 or [email protected]. Major insurances accepted.

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