While it’s popularly held that polyunsaturated fats like corn oil and sunflower oil are healthier than saturated fats, this belief has just been challenged by new research.
Coming shortly after the announcement that processed meats are more likely to cause cancer, new studies have shown that heating up vegetable oils leads to the release of massive amounts of cancer-causing chemicals called aldehydes.
Martin Grootveld, a professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology, said that a typical vegetable oil-fried meal of fish and chips could contain as much as 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit.
Tests revealed that heating up butter, olive oil and lard produced much lower levels of the carcinogenic chemical, with coconut oil producing the lowest levels.
The scientist behind these experiments, Professor Grootveld of De Montfort University in Leicester, said:
People have been telling us how healthy polyunsaturates are in corn oil and sunflower oil. But when you start messing around with them, subjecting them to high amounts of energy in the frying pan or the oven, they undergo a complex series of chemical reactions which results in the accumulation of large amounts of toxic compounds.
Problems linked to the toxic chemicals include cancer, heart disease, dementia, rise in blood pressure, ‘malformations’ during pregnancy, inflammation and risk of ulcers.
The researchers recommended that if food must be fried, it should be done in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or even lard.