Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to leading scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in coconut oil, butter or even lard.
The results of a series of experiments threaten to turn on its head official advice that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats – such as corn oil and sunflower oil – are better for the health than the saturated fats in animal products.
Scientists found that heating up vegetable oils led to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and dementia.
Martin Grootveld, a professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology, said that his research showed “a typical meal of fish and chips”, fried in vegetable oil, contained as much as 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit set by the World Health Organisation
Because vegetable oils are rich in omega 6 acids, they are contributing to a reduction in critical omega 3 fatty acids in the brain by replacing them, he believes.
“If you eat too much corn oil or sunflower oil, the brain is absorbing too much omega 6, and that effectively forces out omega 3,” said Prof Stein. “I believe the lack of omega 3 is a powerful contributory factor to such problems as increasing mental health issues and other problems such as dyslexia.”
The findings are contained in research papers. Prof Grootveld’s team measured levels of “aldehydic lipid oxidation products” (LOPs), produced when oils were heated to varying temperatures. The tests suggested coconut oil produces the lowest levels of aldehydes, and three times more aldehydes were produced when heating corn oil and sunflower oil than butter.