Frying food in vegetable oil linked to cancer, say scientists
Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in olive oil, 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, linked to 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.
In contrast, heating up butter, olive oil and lard in tests produced much lower levels of aldehydes. Coconut oil produced the lowest levels of the harmful chemicals.
Concerns over toxic chemicals in heated oils are backed up by separate research from a University of Oxford professor, who claims that the fatty acids in vegetable oils are contributing to other health problems.
Professor John Stein, Oxford's emeritus professor of neuroscience, said that partly as a result of corn and sunflower oils, "the human brain is changing in a way that is as serious as climate change threatens to be".