Can anything that’s deep-fried be considered good for you?
As I was bragging on my deep-fried turkey this Thanksgiving, I had some inquiries about which cooking oils are healthy. The first question, of course, had to do with whether anything deep-fried is good for you.
My simple answer to this question is: There is no such thing as a bad food, just bad diets and lifestyles. Having the occasional deep-fried anything is OK when the big picture is evaluated. As far as cooking oils go, it’s best to avoid vegetable oils such as soybean oil or heavily refined cottonseed, safflower, corn, or grape-seed oil.
The term “vegetable oils” sounds healthy, but don’t let it fool you. These vegetable oils are made up mostly of polyunsaturated fats that leave them prone to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to the heat of cooking.
This causes a large amount of inflammation in the body. Inflammation, as most of you are aware, is the silent and deadly killer that causes cancer, heart disease, etc. Even though saturated fats have been criminalized, they are the healthiest to cook with, as they are more stable and less inflammatory than vegetable oils.
Tropical oils such as coconut and palm oils are best for cooking. Even good old-fashioned lard and natural butter are less inflammatory than vegetable oils. Extra virgin olive oil is good for cooking at lower temperatures, as it is primarily monounsaturated and fairly stable.
Avocado and macadamia nut oil are great for baking, as they are also mostly monounsaturated fats and, therefore, less inflammatory, as they are more stable in the heat of cooking.
So, to answer the questions on cooking oils — the occasional deep-fried food is OK when the rest of your lifestyle is healthy. Vegetables oils are not good to cook with.
It is better to use tropical, avocado, and macadamia oils, and even real raw butter. And finally, yes — my deep-fried turkey was delicious!
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.