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Healthy frying: Fried Foods and Health

Updated on February 1, 2012

Frying food is not bad for the heart!

The latest research regarding the link between hard disease and nutrition, especially eating fried foods, conducted in Spain and attested by German specialists, shows that frying foods isn't necessarily unhealthy. The definition of healthy frying would be:

  • use vegetable oil (olive oil, sunflower oil);
  • only use that oil once, never reuse oil used for frying foods;
  • don't exaggerate with eating fried foods;

But why was the expression healthy frying a paradox, before the scientists made up their mind saying it's not that a contradictory statement?

Is frying healthy or not?

Frying foods is one of the most used cooking methods, for preparation of various foods, but, unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous for the human body.
Frying oil or animal fat has the great defect of producing toxic chemicals due to the modification of its molecular structure during extremely high heating. More and more studies support the theory that substances produced by frying are carcinogenic.

What can be worse than to know that your meal instead of providing the necessary nutrients to the body, creates more harm?
When food is subjected to frying in an intense and longer lasting manner, produces more substances which are dangerous. Potatoes, when fried at high temperatures, or meat prepared by frying in oil or fat, fried eggs and other dishes that require frying are very dangerous.

Hazardous substances in products which are fried in oil are very dangerous, such as acrylamide, glycidamides and ketones.

Acrylamide is a highly toxic substance whose use is accepted by the World Health Organization only in very small quantities like micrograms. Unfortunately, the modern human diet, especially of those who prefer a fast-food menu, exceeds by almost ten times the permitted dose of the substance. Acrylamide contributes to increasing the amount of free radicals and DNA damage.

Glycidamide is also considered a carcinogen that is released by frying food, especially when the temperature is really high. Recent studies show that when frying oil temperature exceeds 120 degrees C (250 F) , is particularly harmful.

Ketones are very toxic. Ketones is a carbonyl group linked to two organic radicals.

How to avoid the consumption of such substances? It is true that we can hardly resist the temptation to eat, at least a few times a week, french fries, fried chicken wings or chicken legs.

So, the latest research says that frying is not so unhealthy as we believed, but what about the above statements that are just facts of Chemistry, said to be proved in laboratory and through years of testing and info gathering from human subjects..

A few years ago, there was a major European study Project called HEATOX (heat generated food toxins), during which Acrylamide was deeply analyzed: how it forms, how much heat do foods need to release it, which type of foods generate it through heating and so on. The conclusion was there's little we can do to avoid this toxin, as it's released not only through frying, but also through other cooking methods, it's only the temperature and cooking duration that makes the difference. (the higher the worse!)

Temperature: the safe zone

If you cook something at a temperature too low, it may not be enough to kill bacteria and germs, if it's too high, you'll get that nasty Acrylamide in your meal.

You should use the minimum safe cooking temperatures for each type of food. This may vary between 145 -170 degrees F, but you should check to make sure.

Don't let fried foods become brown, it's enough to just become golden, and always use vegetable oils.


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    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      It's a good article on fried foods. But because I'm losing some weight for a big convention where I would have to walk on stage (as well as an upcoming funeral, thanks to a dying close relative) I prefer oven-fried.

    • Rickrideshorses profile image

      Rickrideshorses 6 years ago from England

      This makes me feel a whole lot better about some of the food I eat. Thanks

    • johnrussellauthor profile image

      johnrussellauthor 6 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      Good article mate!