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Fried food 'fine for heart' if cooked with olive oil

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Bob, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Bob

    Bob

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    I think this is helpful info for people like us with a sedantary life...
    I do a lot of veg stir-frys, so I'm pleased to read this.

    Fried food 'fine for heart' if cooked with olive oil
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16691754

    But, an important caveat is that is only relates to frying healthy food, such as veg and fish...

  2. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    I suspect that the main thing is not so much which oil you use, though that's important too, as how much you use of it. I can cook a frying-pan full of veg in 1/4 tsp oil, but I've met people who think nothing of pouring several tablespoons of oil onto a single portion of salad. Reducing an entire diet to a single component, in this case the type of oil but not the quantity nor the other foods that go with it, is of limited value.

    And quantity is something which is incredibly vague when it comes to nutritional recommendations. When I was diagnosed with gallstones, which are set off by eating too much fat at once, I asked the GP how much fat I should be eating. I'm in the process of losing weight and doing it by counting calories, so I was happy to work with either a percentage of calories or total grams of fat. It transpired that he didn't know a thing about nutrition, and thought that 10% of calories from fat was the sort of standard diet which they recommend to everyone. I went home, tried cooking with that little fat, realised that not only would I be cutting out tofu, nuts and seeds (I'm already vegan - animal foods would have been very difficult in that range, I think) and sauting in broth rather than with a bit of oil, but that I wouldn't even be able to use soya milk in my porridge, so I rang another GP to check this. She was surprised and said, "Oh, maybe he meant 10% of calories from saturated fat?" which is an entirely different matter. When pressed, she too turned out to be vague in the extreme about nutrition. (The doctor who confirmed the diagnosis via ultrasound said it wasn't about percentage, it was about how many grams of fat I ate at any one time, and I have discovered the hard way that my limit is about 10g fat per meal.) And I have a so-called healthy cookbook which reckons that a low-fat diet is 40% of calories from fat, which is actually a pretty high-fat diet.

    Same thing goes for protein. I have heard ridiculous variation in what counts as a high-protein diet, let alone what is recommended for someone with ME. The general recommendations for macronutrient quantities are pretty much what you can read here, though bear in mind that this is a standard recommendation rather than the more extreme low-carb (e.g. Atkins) or high-carb (e.g. McDougall) diets. Even if you do chose something like one of those, it does at least give you a baseline for reference.

    If you want to know exactly what you're eating, get hold of some decent dieting software, measure what you eat, and note it all down. A lot of us are keeping an eye on nutrient intake at the least and often unhappy with our weight one way or the other, so this is generally quite useful.
  3. Bob

    Bob

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    They seem to be saying that oil in itself, if it is olive oil or sunflower oil, does not increase heart disease, if it is used as part of a healthy diet.
    So a reasonable amount of oil will not cause heart disease, as long as it is part of a balanced healthy diet, and we are a good weight etc.
    (Some oils are thought to be positively healthy in small amounts, such as evening primrose oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil etc.)
  4. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    No one's actually cooking with evening primrose oil, last I checked! The survey appears to have been a broad comparison of a Madrid diet to people living on fish and chips (although I imagine it was a British diet of some sort, not just the fish and chips that they keep on harping on!), and you cannot possibly boil all that down to "the only difference is the type of oil". I agree that oil is necessary in the diet at a certain level, and that some oils are healthier than others, but this study doesn't actually appear to be about that. It honestly just sounds like sloppy reporting, as is usual with anything medical, and the original study findings may well be entirely different to how they sound in the article. For all we know, the main conclusion of the study could have been "eat more vegetables". I've seen medical reporting so bad that the news articles actually came to the opposite conclusion to that reached by the original study.

    It really isn't news that olive oil is healthier than lard, anyway, that's all been thoroughly researched years ago, nor is it news that humans do require a certain amount of fat in their diet. For the results that this article is claiming, you'd need two groups of prople on rigorously controlled diets that were identical in every way except for the type of oil used. That's not what they've done. At the very least, I would guess that total amount of oil used would be far more important than type of oil used, especially if we're talking about a wide variation in quantity. Hydrogenation would come a close second. Whether you cook with 1/4t of olive oil vs. 1/4t peanut oil is going to be quite a long way down the list.
  5. No_more_pain

    No_more_pain A Lonely Pretend Writer

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    So there I was, lightly sauting bumblebee legs and dandelion petals in a drizzle of evening primrose oil when I came across your message.

    I beg to differ!

    :D
    CJB, ukme and madietodd like this.
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I had roast potatoes made with beef dripping yesterday - worth dying for imo.
  7. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    CRUELTY TO POOR DEFENCELESS DANDELIONS!!!

    Insects are full of protein, though, last I heard.
  8. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes, we've all learned not to believe anything we read in the press, haven't we. The PACE Trial is a fine example of that.

    I haven't read the original research for this article, but I just thought it was interesting anyway, as a counter-argument to the generally held view that all fried food is bad.

    I'm just interested in whether fried veg and fish are bad for the heart, because I eat so much of them and lead a sedentary life-style, and regularly have chest pain and light-headedness.


    Mmmm... sounds delicious!

    (Poor bumble bees!)

    :D
  9. blue sky

    blue sky

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    Hello Bob,

    Don't want to be a Debbie Downer but had to respond...

    While olive oil may not be bad for the heart, if you are using high temperature to fry (as opposed to sauteeing at low temp) it is considered very unhealthy to heat olive oil to high temperatures as this creates an abundance of oxidation/free radicals. Olive oil is not to be used for high temp (deep frying) because of this. My husband is a trained chef (lucky me), and he never uses olive oil for high temperature cooking, preferring high temp oils (can't recall which ones at the moment though). I believe the Mercola site has quite a bit of info on this if you want to search.

    Since people with ME/CFS are known to already have massive amounts of oxidation, you may want to steer clear of olive oil used in this way.
  10. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    Yeah, that is what I have heard/read also. High heat is bad for olive oil.

    GG
  11. Bob

    Bob

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    Thank you [STRIKE]Debbie Downer[/STRIKE] dunningblue, ;)

    Yes, I'd heard that as well. I only use olive oil for light shallow frying. I'd heard that once an oil gets near to it's 'flash point' (the point at which it starts smoking), then that's when it breaks down. Olive oil has a low flash point temperature. But I'd like to know more about all of this, which was why I was interested in this article. What I'd really like to know is if olive oil loses all of its health benefits when using it for shallow frying. This was the first research that i'd read that addresses the issue without presuming that all oils are unhealthy when used for cooking.

    Sunflower oil, the other oil in the article that they say does not increase heart disease rates, is one of those high temperature oils (I think) that you mentioned. It is supposed to be safer for deep frying as it has a high flash point temperature, and so it doesn't break down until it gets to high temps. I use sunflower oil as well, but I don't do any deep frying, except very occasionally I do myself some fried potato chips.

    Thanks for all the tips and info everyone.
  12. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    I'd guess that oils are used in a heated state more often than in a cold state for cooking, so I'd expect research to have covered that, surely? Generally I think you're fine as long as you don't let anything start smoking.

    Does anyone else find that coconut oil burns far too quickly to be worth much for sauting in, at least in small quantities? Generally I use olive oil for salads and most cooking, and sunflower or rapeseed oil for anything far Eastern which would taste odd with olive oil. Sometimes I use a bit of coconut milk, made up from those blocks you can get of coconut cream, in which case there's enough water in there to prevent burning. But I mainly keep the coconut oil to use as a facial moisturiser.

    I also make up little chocolate peanut butter balls for snacks. The mix involves dark chocolate, peanut butter, ground almonds, agave syrup (though tried half d-ribose today), non-hydrogenated margarine, orange juice, cocoa powder, soy protein isolate, and a tiny bit of licorice powder as a sweetener (not enough to make a difference therapeutically). Today I tried replacing the marg with 2/3 coconut oil and 1/3 orange juice, and of course they have had to be renamed chocolate coconut balls as the coconut totally took over. I make them tiny, about the size of Maltesers, and find that one or two of these makes a surprisingly good pick-me-up. ETA: Since I am now making everyone hungry by describing them in Chat, I'll put the recipe in this post in the community lounge.
  13. Carrie-Louise

    Carrie-Louise

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    Hi - I'm Carrie-Louise. This is my first post.:) Just wanna say - don't use sunflower oil! It's one of those oils that has to be chemically extracted and traces of the solvents remain in the finished product, which could be very nasty for people like us. I tend to only use cold-pressed oils which are not extracted chemically - like EV olive oil (people in the Mediterranean have been cooking with olive oil for years and they are a pretty healthy population, so I'd say heated olive oil is a better bet than chemically extracted sunflower oil). Other things I use are coconut oil and butter. The 'saturated fat is bad' idea has been challenged in recent times - and it does seem to have been based on pretty inconclusive evidence, so I figure eating natural butter has to be better than eating chemically-extracted, coloured and processed marge! :)
    SickOfSickness likes this.
  14. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Mediteranean people never use olive oil for frying. Here in Sicily they use sunflower oil or maize oil for frying - but they recognise this as unhealty and only eat fried food at all on rare occasions. Olive oil is damaged by heat even at low temperatures, so this applies to shallow frying as well as deep frying. Olive oil is one of the fats most severely damaged by heat - therefore one of the worst fats to fry with.

    What Sicilians always do is grill or boil their food and then slosh loads of olive oil on top of it - that IS a healthy way to eat oil and tastes better as raw olive oil has a far better taste - heating it ruins the flavour.
    The other thing they do is put half olive oil and half water in a frying pan to cook things, which protects the oil from such damage. You can "fake fry" most vegetables like this and they come out lovely, as does fish. To cook meat they just sprinkle salt in a frying pan, put the meat on top and heat it. No oil, no nothing. You have to turn the meat several times at first to make sure it doesn't stick. All meats are really delicious done like this!

    I read a book about fats which said, like Carrie Louise, that butter and coconut oil are the best fats to fry with as they are the most resistant to heat damage. And I also agree that oils which are contaminated in the production process are probably more harmful than a bit of saturated fat.

    BTW unless you are buying "extra virgin olive oil" then olive oil will also contain solvents and other additives that are probably not very healthy.
    Hanna likes this.
  15. Carrie-Louise

    Carrie-Louise

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    That's interesting info - thanks! I'm going to use coconut oil and butter for all frying in future - and it's true you don't need extra fat for frying meat at all.

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