The low down on fats and smoke point
Fats are an important part of a healthy diet and certainly to maximise the benefits on a low carb journey, the right type of fats are incredibly vital to fuelling your body correctly and improving the efficiency of your metabolism. BUT even in choosing healthy fats to eat, being aware of how they need to be used in cooking preparation is an extremely detrimental factor. In the below information we take you through a common list of fats we encourage people to use and at what maximum temperature they can be heated too, particularly if using these fats in ‘raised temperature’ situations.
Avocado Oil: With a high smoke of 271°C point avocado oil is suitable with cooking at high temperatures such as sautéing and frying. Also, at room temperature the oil is good addition to salads or added into dressings such as homemade mayonnaise. (approx. 70% monosaturated fats, 12% saturated and the remaining polyunsaturated)
Coconut Oil:Suitable at cooking at high temperatures due to a smoke point 177°C degrees. It can be used in baking, in frying, used to grease pans, and added to smoothies and low-carb treats. (approx. 92% saturated fat, trace amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
Ghee: Due to its high smoke point of 252°C degrees ghee is great for baking, stir-frying and sautéing. Also, it’s great when added to bullet-proof coffee, sauces, stews, and soups. (approx. 65% saturated fats, 25% monounsaturated and 5% polyunsaturated).
Lard: With a high smoke point of 190°C lard can be used for baking, stir-frying, and sautéing. It can be used to grease dishes (Approx. 40% saturated fat)
Olive Oil: Use as a salad dressing instead of commercial varieties that contain harmful seed oils. At a lower smoke point of 160°C extra virgin olive oil is best cooked at lower to medium temperatures. Hence, a good way to enjoy the healthy fat is by drizzling over a salad or vegetables or making sauces like homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings. (approx. 73% monounsaturated fats, 14% saturated, 11% polyunsaturated)
Butter: Butter has a low smoke point of 177°C. Cooking on a low heat such as sautéing vegetables, or adding cold to simmering sauces, and adding flavour to cauliflower or sweet potato mashes. Simply adding butter to steamed vegetables helps absorb the fat-soluble nutrients. (approx. 60% saturated fat and 45% monounsaturated).
Why smoke point matters?
When an oil is heated past its smoke point, it generates toxic fumes and free radicals which are extremely harmful to your body.
When the smoke point is reached, you’ll begin to see the gaseous vapours from heating, a marker that the oil has started to decompose.
Decomposition involves chemical changes that not only negatively affect the food’s flavor and nutritional value, but also create cancer-causing compounds that are harmful when consumed and/or inhaled.
Commonly linked with Olive Oil and Cooking
So if you’ve cooked your olive oil too long and it starts smoking, please turn off the stove and keep the vapours out of your lungs! And definitely throw away any food that’s been in contact with the oil; it’s much better to start again than to risk putting these free radicals into your body.
So while extra-virgin olive oil is a great choice for health (it’s the least refined and most nutrient-dense), it’s not the best pick if you’ll be working with high heats.
The nutrients in extra-virgin olive oil start to oxidize and degrade starting as low as 300°F. Opt for extra-virgin olive oil in salad dressings, marinades, drizzled over vegetables for roasting or pan-frying and blended with hummus and sauces for a smooth, decadent flavor and tons of health benefits.
If you’ll be cooking over 320°F but still want to reap the health benefits of olive oil, opt for a lighter, more refined type with a higher smoke point to avoid the risks mentioned above.
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