You have many options when it comes to selecting fats and oils for cooking.
But it’s not just a matter of choosing oils that are healthy, but also whether they stay healthy after having been cooked with.
The Stability of Cooking Oils
When you’re cooking at a high heat, you want to use oils that are stable and don’t oxidize or go rancid easily.
When oils undergo oxidation, they react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds that you definitely don’t want to be consuming.
The most important factor in determining an oil’s resistance to oxidation and rancidification, both at high and low heat, is the relative degree of saturation of the fatty acids in it.
Saturated fats have only single bonds in the fatty acid molecules, monounsaturated fats have one double bond and polyunsaturated fats have two or more.
It is these double bonds that are chemically reactive. Therefore, saturated fats, with no double bonds, are by far the most stable
Alright, now let’s discuss each type of cooking fat specifically.
The Winner: Coconut Oil
When it comes to high heat cooking, coconut oil is your best choice.
Over 90% of the fatty acids in it are saturated, which makes it very resistant to heat.
This oil is semi-solid at room temperature and it can last for months and years without going rancid.
Coconut oil also has powerful health benefits. It is particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol and help kill bacteria and other pathogens
The fats in coconut oil can also boost metabolism slightly and increase feelings of fullness compared to other fats.