Frying & Deep-Frying
Ok, this will be a hard one for some, but we would not have your better interests at heart if we held back on the truth. We believe that frying and deep frying are major causes of cancer - and there is plenty of scientific evidence to support this.
As you consider the following, may we again remind you that you do not have to give up anything - you only have to switch to using better alternatives. Whatever you have fried in the past can be baked and, because your taste buds will not be coated in oil, your food will taste so much better - especially if you bake at a temperature not exceeding 160C. Whatever you have sautéed in the past can be sautéed in cold processed/cold pressed sesame oil provided you do so at a low temperature - and only if you have a glass Vision frying pan. You do not want to sauté in any metal pan. Also see the "Safe" Frying suggestions below.
Whether you take this advice seriously or not, and we urge you to do so, do read the warnings regarding non-stick cookware and pop-corn vendors.
Frying - Be Warned?
"What happens in frying? Temperatures up to 600-700 degrees F. may be obtained. If fried foods become burned or scorched, temperatures up to 1000 or 1100 degrees F. may have been reached. At these temperatures 'cis' fatty acids are converted to 'trans' fatty acids... in other words, the unsaturated fats behave as if they were saturated. Thus, fried foods are more likely than un-fried foods to increase the likelihood of hardening of the arteries. When fat is reheated to frying temperatures the second time, as in a deep fryer [or a popcorn vendor], the fat is more likely to develop the cancer producing agent acrolein." (Dr Agatha Thrash, Nutrition for Vegetarians, p. 46)
The dangers to health of frying and deep-frying result from rapid oxidation and other chemical changes that take place when oils are subjected to high temperature in the presence of light and oxygen.
First, antioxidants in the oil (vitamin E and carotene) are used up.
Then, frying and deep-frying produce free radicals that start chain reactions in oil molecules.
Under these conditions, many chemical changes take place in oils. Frying and deep-frying produce some trans- fatty acids. These are the least harmful of the altered molecules produced by these processes.
Other oxidation products are far more toxic than trans- fatty acids.
Scores of unnatural breakdown, dimer, and polymer products with unknown effects on health are produced by frying and deep-frying.
"Frying with oils once will not kill us, and so [this practice] seems harmless. Our body copes with toxic substances. But over 10, 20, or 30 years, our cells accumulate altered and toxic products for which they have not evolved efficient detoxifying mechanisms. The altered and toxic substances interfere with our body's life chemistry, our 'bio-chemistry'. Cells then degenerate, and these degenerative processes manifest as degenerative diseases." (Udo Erasmus, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, pg. 125,126)
"Frying is not recommended, because safe frying is a contradiction in terms. Frying temperatures are too high. When foods turn brown, they have been burned. The nutrients in the browned material have been destroyed. Proteins turn into carcinogenic acrolein. Starches and sugars are browned (caramelized) through molecular destruction. Fats and oils are turned to smoke by destruction of fatty acids and glycerol." (Udo Erasmus, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, pg. 126)
There is a way of frying with oils that contain EFAs that is less damaging than common frying practices, but this way of frying requires more care on our part than we ordinarily take in our frying operations.
Traditional Chinese cooks first put water in their wok, not oil (North American Chinese cooks have largely abandoned this wise practice). Water keeps the temperature down to 100ºC (212ºF), a non-destructive temperature.
In European gourmet cooking, vegetables placed in the frying pan before oil is added protect the oil from overheating and oxidation. The food tastes less burned, retains more of its natural flavorss and nutrients and, most important, supports our health better.
It requires care to fry foods in this way, because we cannot be away doing something else at the same time. It would be best to not fry at all, and to eat our fresh oils on salads or get them from eating seeds. We are creatures of habit, but a small change in the way we fry with oils pays large dividends in health and wellbeing.
In frying, our usual custom is to pour oil into an empty frying pan, and to let it heat, shimmy, and smoke before adding the foods we want to fry. During this time, the oil is being destroyed. The temperature is too high.
Light-catalyzed free radical oxidation reactions occur extremely rapidly.
Oil kept at 215ºC (419ºF) for 15 minutes or more consistently produces atherosclerosis when fed to experimental animals. In commercial deep-frying operations, the same batch of oil is often kept at a high temperature constantly for days. Many altered substances have been isolated from such oils. Some are known to be toxic; the effects of many others are not known; and we can be fairly confident that none of them will improve health.
Oils least damaged by high temperatures and oxygen include (in order of preference):
[the latter 6 oils are all distributed by Nature's Choice in a cold pressed and cold processed form - but we still suggest that you switch to baking wherever possible rather than frying.]
These oils are EFA-poor, and produce the lowest amount of toxic molecules when heated. The EFAs required for health must come from other sources.
"Frying and deep-frying are completely prohibited if optimum health is what you are after, or if you are attempting to reverse cancer or any other degenerative condition using natural means. (Udo Erasmus, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, pg. 125-128)
Pop-Corn Vendors: [Have you ever looked inside the frying pot in a popcorn vending machine? It is usually black and caked with very old grease. The oil will have been heated hundreds of times over and must constitute one of the greatest dangers to health. When next you have a cold or the flu, think back on whether you ate popcorn from a vending machine over the past few days. (If you did not do so, then you probably consumed an unhealthy dose of sugar over the past few days.)
Frying In Cream: Some people get the idea that because we sometimes recommend the use of cream in place of oil in recipes, they can safely fry in cream. This is not so. While cream from a healthy cow is a better alternative to any free fat, when we heat cream, the fat in the cream will be converted into a damaging fat. One symptom of eating food that has been fried in cream is the inability to fall asleep at night.