Especially, when the food has been fried in USED oil. This is something that happens at corner cafes, big brand restaurants, slow and fast, and some suburban kitchens.
I get it……….
- Fried foods taste GOOD and
- Oil is expensive
But, this is one of those times, you’re being penny wise, but pound foolish.
If you’re going to tuck into fried food, you MUST use CLEAN OIL. And, opt for oil with a higher saturated fat content. This is what a group of researchers from the University of Kebangsaan, in Malaysia discovered.
Oiling up the rats
The team bravely, enrolled 110 male rats into their “oil for dinner” study. I say bravely, because that is a lot of rats, with big egos, and unlike most “feeding” studies, this study didn’t last for a week or two, it went on for 6 months.
That’s a lifetime for a rat.
And it means, the result is a whole lot more relevant to you. Yes, it is still a study on rats, not people, but it’s long enough to show an effect. Plus, it gives clues as to what happens when you do things, regularly.
Remember, small things can make a big difference to your health.
So, what did they do ?
The oil for dinner study
They divided their 110 rats into 11 groups and added a little extra oil to their dinner. Quite literally, they took the commercial rat chow, ground it up, and added some vegetable oil. They chose two different types of oil, both of which are widely used in Malaysia.
- Palm oil – which is considered a saturated fat
- Soybean oil – which is a polyunsaturated fat new one
But, they didn’t just add oil directly from the bottle, they fried it up….
Fried sweet potatoes
In a big stainless steel wok, they fried up sweet potato “chips” – the cooking process was very scientific. The sweet potato fry, lasted exactly 10 minutes and the oil temperature peaked at 180°C.
They ate the chips, the rats got the oil (15 % w/w), mixed in with their standard rat chow.
- When it was fried once.
- When it was re-used once.
- When it was re-used five times.
- When it was re-used ten times.
The team cooked for the rats, every week FOR 24 WEEKS.
Serving oil dinners
The rats, could eat whenever they pleased and, as much or as, little as they liked. The housing was pleasant….. the temperature was a cosy 27°C, the days were 12 hours long.
Life was good !
Except for the once a week, blood pressure measurement…..
This involved a blood pressure monitoring cuff on the tail and temporary confinement, in a body-sized plastic container.
It all came to an end, at 24 weeks………….
So what happened ?
Fried foods NO PROBLEM
The fresh oil, caused zero problems with blood pressure. Zero. Actually, the animals with oil in the mix, had marginally better blood pressure, than those stuck eating plain old rat chow. Odds are, they ate less.
There was no difference between palm oil and soybean oil.
But in the case of the used oil…………….. it was a different story.
Blood pressure rising
Used oil caused blood pressure to increase, significantly. The more times the oil had been “re-cycled”, the bigger the blood pressure rise.
In the case of palm oil, oil that had been re-cycled 10 times, was bumping up blood pressure by 25.4 %. It was worse for soybean oil, the oil that had been used 10 times, bumped up blood pressure levels, by 34.4 %.
That’s a heart attack waiting to happen !
Used once is not a bargain
Buying previously owned clothes, cars or cameras – can be a good deal, provided the item is still in good nick.
In the case of cooking oils, it is NEVER a good deal.
The frying process is chemically taxing….. there is
- thermal oxidation
Which, leaves the fatty acid chains MANGLED.
The more unsaturated the fatty acids in the oil are, to begin with, the more opportunity for problematic changes to occur.
And………… damaged fats ARE a health risk.
Fat per se is NOT BAD
But, trans fats ARE.
It you’re going to fry foods, opt to use a saturated fat, like coconut oil or butter. And don’t be a scrooge, use fresh oil.
NOTE : Watch the processed foods and “eating out”. Even if the oil is changed once a day, odds are, it’s still been re-heated a couple of times, putting you at risk.
Being sedentary i.e. not moving enough, is a big health issue. TV remotes, cars, obesity are all blamed, but the real culprit, might be what you ate for dinner
The fatty acid implicated in health troubles is palmitoleic acid. A diet high in carbs, raises their levels, a diet high in saturated fats, keeps them low.
The chemistry of fats is complicated. High fat levels are not because you stacked your plate with butter, meat, cream and eggs – your body made those fats.
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