SINGAPORE - Oil is 100 per cent fat but some oils are healthier than others. Generally, it is best to choose a type of oil that is higher in unsaturated fat than saturated fat.
However, a healthy oil for cooking is not just defined by its composition of bad fats (saturated and trans fats) and good fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats).
It is also defined by oil's smoke point or the cooking temperature that causes the oil to start breaking down and burn, which leads to the creation of harmful free radicals, said Dr Dimitrios Spanos, an Assistant Professor and Programme Director of the Singapore Institute of Technology's new degree programme in Dietetics and Nutrition.
Cooking at home is the best way to control the type and the amount of oil used in our meals, he said.
"Deep frying generally is not healthy, and is not recommended as a method of cooking, no matter the type of oil used," he said.
Here's a look at the oils that can be used for food preparation:
Oils with a high smoke point can be used for high temperature cooking such as grilling or stir frying foods. These include:
1. Peanut oil
2. Rice bran oil
3. Soybean oil
4. Extra light olive oil
5. Avocado oil
Oils with a moderately high smoke point can be used for general cooking such as baking and stir frying. They include:
1. Sunflower oil
2. Canola oil
3. Corn oil
4. Olive oil
5. Macadamia oil
Oils with a low smoke point can be drizzled over salads. These include:
1. Extra virgin olive oil
2. Flaxseed oil
3. Walnut oil
4. Grapeseed oil
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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