Frying is one of the most popular methods of food preparation. It’s also the most damaging to your health. High heat causes oils to breakdown and form toxic chemicals. Antioxidants such as vitamin E and carotene are lost and essential fatty acids are destroyed. In addition, oxidation of the oil creates unstable molecules (called free radicals) that trigger degeneration of body cells.
The result is a toxic stew unfit for human and animal consumption. When medical researchers want to experimentally induce atherosclerosis (artery plaque) in animals, they feed them oil kept at 419 degrees for 15 minutes. In fast-food restaurants, oils are kept at a high temperature for days. (Think about that when you order French fries!).
Brief Asian-style stir-frying is preferable to deep-frying because it uses less oil and a shorter cooking time. When stir-frying, use oil with a higher saturated-fat content. Although less beneficial than unsaturated fats, they stand up to the heat better. Clarified butter (also known as drawn butter or ghee), refined coconut, peanut, sesame, and olive oil (in that order) are your best choices because they have a higher smoke point. Occasional frying won’t kill us, but it can’t be recommended for health, especially if trying to reverse a disease.
Since high temperatures destroy nutrients, the nutritional benefits of unrefined oils (like olive, flaxseed, and hemp) are best obtained when they are added to food after cooking. But be careful to avoid fats like that half-empty, crusty bottle of oil that’s been sitting around for ages. Cheap, rancid oil is frequently used in bottled salad dressings, too, so it’s best to make your own.
Olive oil will keep for three months unrefrigerated, so buy what you will use in this amount of time. Rancid fats can also develop in ground meats and leftovers. Avoid rancid fats and oils like the plague because they are carcinogenic (cancer-causing).