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Somebody please explain oils/smoke points/oxidation to me!

Commented on November 13, 2013
Created November 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

I've read about this numerous times and remain woefully confused. We are advised to use oils with high smoke points because once an oil passes its smoke point it becomes carcinogenic, right? Well, then why do so many people recommend cooking with unrefined coconut oil? The smoke point of unrefined coconut oil is only 350. I--and many others--regularly cook at or above 400 (baking, grilling, sauteing all easily pass that mark), which turns that coconut oil into a carcinogenic mess. Of course, if you buy the refined coconut oil designed specifically for high heat cooking, the smoke point is 450, but everyone always tells you never to buy any refined oils. People also tell you never to buy vegetable oils because of their high omega 6 concentrations. I get that, but if the vegetable oil has a smoke point of over 500--as is the case with refined safflower oil--might that be better than cooking a "healthier" oil until it becomes carcinogenic? I'm also a touch confused about the vilification of vegetable oils. Does anyone know of any studies them to be damaging? Would love some help with all this. Thanks!

C081372eb93b10e8c8512edf76890588

on November 13, 2013
at 12:04 AM

For some brands, it'll say sunflower oil right on the bottle, such as, if I recall correctly, Bertolli. For others, you call and ask the marketers. Troublesome, I know, but I had to ask after that bottle said it was only 10% olive oil. There's actually been a study about whether extra virgin olive oil is just that by UC Davis. Also, for grill temp and roasting, most of the time, that's the external heat. Oil should be safe in those cases. I'm roasting chicken now with coconut oil at 420 and the oil isn't smoking.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on November 12, 2013
at 06:27 PM

So there's no benefit to using unrefined coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil? I've also never heard that most olive oil is actually sunflower oil. How is that possible? If you check a bottle labeled olive oil, will the ingredients list say sunflower oil? I agree with you about sauteing, but there are plenty of recipes that require baking at temps above 350. If you roast or grill often--and I do both--you definitely shoot above the 400 threshold. I guess you could saute or boil or steam your food all the time, but, at least for me, that'd be too bland.

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3 Answers

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 12, 2013
at 10:18 PM

Have you read any paleo guideline books? They discuss the problems with seed oils.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on November 12, 2013
at 06:43 PM

Eat as many as possible of your fats raw. Use the most refined coconut oil to cook. Baking does not raise the temperature of the oil as much as cooking with a pan, where the oil is 1/8" from a live fire. When I sauté' things, I make sure it is done at the lowest possible temperature.

0
C081372eb93b10e8c8512edf76890588

on November 12, 2013
at 06:12 PM

People normally say unrefined coconut oil because it's unrefined. That's literally the only reason why people say to use it, and it's cheaper to get unrefined coconut oil than completely virgin olive oil - which happens to be very hard to get, most conventional olive oil is sunflower oil and is quite honestly controlled by the mafia. A lot of people also vilify vegetable oil because it tends to be corn oil, which as we all know is bad. It all depends on how you feel about it. I find that the oil is hot enough without smoking for me to comfortably saute my food. Rather than let it smoke, after two/three minutes on med-high throw a pinch of water in. When it pops, it's time. It's really not necessary for oil to be that high, it's just a preference.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on November 12, 2013
at 06:27 PM

So there's no benefit to using unrefined coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil? I've also never heard that most olive oil is actually sunflower oil. How is that possible? If you check a bottle labeled olive oil, will the ingredients list say sunflower oil? I agree with you about sauteing, but there are plenty of recipes that require baking at temps above 350. If you roast or grill often--and I do both--you definitely shoot above the 400 threshold. I guess you could saute or boil or steam your food all the time, but, at least for me, that'd be too bland.

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