Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Oil Is Best For Frying Foods?

Does Palm oil contribute to bad cholesterol when used in cooking or frying? What's the best cooking oil to use if I have high cholesterol? Carol D.

Dear Carol,

Yes, palm oil is highly saturated and this type of fat has been linked to raising cholesterol levels in some people. The better fats to use are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated (the latter helps 'good' cholesterol stay the same while lowering the 'bad'; polyunsaturated fats can lower total cholesterol).
Corn, safflower, and sunflower oils are polyunsaturated and olive and peanut oils are monounsaturated.

Of course, more is not better when it comes to using oils; these oils are preferable to using the saturated fats (palm and coconut oils, as well as animal fats--lard--and butter) but still should be limited when watching one's cholesterol level and to limit fat intake in general.

If you do fry foods, be sure to blot them thoroughly before eating to remove as much excess grease as possible. If you just need a small amount of oil to cook something like an egg, cooking spray is a good alternative because it coats the pan using a much smaller amount of oil.

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