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Friday 14 May 2021

Natural Theater Is the smoke point of olive oil low? A false problem

Is the smoke point of olive oil low? A false problem

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It is a classic of discussions at the table: never extra virgin olive oil, or even olive oil, in frying because it has a low smoke point.

It is a false myth, a fake news.

Most seed oils have smoke points of only 10-20 degrees higher than extra virgin olive oil and absolutely comparable with olive oil.

perfect frying
The secrets for perfect frying. Photo credit: Wine Dharma by unsplash.com

A 2018 research by the University of Davis published in Acta Scientific Nutritional Health shows that extra virgin olive oil is not only safe when cooked at extremely high temperatures, but is also chemically more stable at these temperatures than other common oils kitchen.

"The smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which, under certain conditions, sufficient volatile compounds emerge from the oil and a bluish smoke becomes clearly visible - explains Leandro Ravetti, co-author of the study, agricultural engineer and technical director of the laboratory Modern Olives in Australia - At this temperature, volatile compounds, such as free fatty acids, polar compounds and short chain degradation products, evaporate from the oil ".

In the aforementioned study, the most commonly used cooking oils were compared, selected at the supermarket and heated in two different tests. In the first, the oils were heated for about 20 minutes until reaching 240 degrees. In the second test, the oils were heated in a deep fryer to 180 degrees, the maximum recommended temperature for frying, for six hours.

In both tests, extra virgin olive oil showed maximum oxidative stability, producing lower levels of polar compounds, trans fats and other by-products than other oils that had higher smoke points.

"The smoking point is unrelated to when the oil starts to break down or lose stability," says Selina Wang, research director of the University of California-Davis Olive Center. While olive oil has a moderate smoke point, its stability may be due to its high levels of antioxidants as well as monounsaturated fats.

"Oxidative stability, not the smoke point, is the best predictor of how an oil behaves during cooking," says Holly Herrington, a registered dietician at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In short, it is the Anglo-Saxon world that shows us the importance of going beyond the smoke point and appreciating extra virgin olive oil for its countless properties, even in the kitchen.

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