The general rule is that the lower the saturated fat level, the more healthy, and vice versa. But there are quirks in this rule, as explained below.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few unprocessed, natural oils, and experts believe that it’s especially healthy in spite of its less-than-optimal saturated fat level (although the dietary-fat proportions for olive oil in the diagram above apply equally to extra virgin olive oil and to refined olive oil, the refined version doesn’t have compensating properties).
Likewise, coconut oil is believed to contain especially healthy components.
What does “refining” of edible oils involve?
The refining process might involve any combination of:
- Hexane-extraction (i.e. use of a mineral-based solvent to extract the oil)
- Degumming (i.e. mixing with water, or with a phosphoric acid solution, to extract soluble impurities)
- Neutralisation .. ie treating with caustic soda to isolate and remove the free fatty acids
- Bleaching .. by means of filtering through (natural) bleaching earth
- Deodorising. This involves heating the liquid under a vacuum to up to a maximum of 180 degrees, and “sparging” (ie bubbling steam through the solution), to remove residual impurities.
- Filtration (final removal of any residual particles)
- Hydrogenating (this hardening process is done by bubbling hydrogen thru the product, and introduces trans-fatty acids). This process is used to make margarine.
About Canola Oil (aka “rapeseed oil”)
South African canola oil is not derived from genetically modified seed. There are any number of credible websites both slating canola oil and promoting it. We note that the canola health aspects mentioned in Wikipedia are positive ones, and that no mention is made of any negative health aspects. We believe that the favourable fat profile of canola (refer to diagram above) outweighs any (unresearched!) risks.
About Commercial Deep-Frying
Regarding deep frying; it’s an unhealthy cooking method, and you should avoid the fries as much as possible!
If and when you do have deep fried food, avoid the junk food chains .. most of them use palm oil, which you’ll note has a poor fat profile. Worse, the oil may have been under heat for days on end .. enabling build-up of carcinogens. When I weaken, I choose my chips to be deep fried in canola oil, at home.
Frying performance of selected oils (the lower the respective values, the better the frying performance)
About Smoke Points (and, indeed, Flash Points)
I get several calls a week from folk who believe these measures are important; my view is that they aren’t, because the cooking process should never approach these high temperatures. Deep frying should never exceed 180 C !.
For the record, here are a few smoke points;
Olive Oil, Extra Virgin; 215 CSunflower Oil; 246 C
Palm Oil; 230 C
Canola Oil; 204 C
Butter; 150 C
The flash point is the temperature at which an oil vapourises into a (combustible) mixture with air. It starts at in excess of 320 C.
Ever been at a restaurant where the oil catches fire? It’s generally in the area of the open-flame grill, or sometimes at the deep-fryer. That can’t be healthy!
For the record, there are nine cooking techniques involving fats. They are, in descending order of temperature;
- Blackening (ie immersion of the protein in butter, then coating with spices, then frying in hot skillet. (250 C)
- Browning (aka “searing”) ie superficial cooking of the exterior of the meat (200 C)
- Deep Frying (180 C)
- Pan Frying (180 C) (often involves batter or tempura)
- Shallow Frying (usually utilises the oil from the protein itself)
- Sauteing (similar to stir-frying, except that all ingredients are heated simultaneously)
- Gentle Frying (suitable where one wishes to preserve the flavour of the oil, or where the protein is delicate (eg eggs))(150 C)
- Sweating (heating, to draw out moisture .. without browning) (140 C)
About added anti-oxidants
By default our oils contain no added anti-oxidant.
For the record, most commercial oils contain”TBHQ”, which is not an approved food additive in the EU.
We stock, and are able to add, subject to negotiation, an approved anti-oxidant, namely “DL Alpha Tocopherol” (aka vitamin E (!))
Documentation available on request.
- HACCP-certification (#;A15/209615)
- Halaal certification
- Kosher certification
- Heart Foundation certificate
- Certificate of acceptability as a food premises
- Product Specification Sheets
- Certificates of Analysis