Is fried food really good for you?
I was reading through some research updates this morning, and was stunned by a large-scale study coming out of Spain. Scientists actually concluded that fried foods aren’t unhealthy.
Kudos to the researchers who had the guts to admit to such controversial results!
I’ve always believed fried foods aren’t bad–when you do it properly (which I’ll get to in just a second).
The results came out of a Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). It’s a large study of diet and health with over a half a million participants from 10 countries. This part of the study was conducted in Spain, with over 40,000 participants.
And the researchers found no increased risk of coronary heart disease or all-cause mortality as a result of eating fried foods.
Now before you run out to the local KFC…there are some critical details to note.
For one, the study was conducted in Spain. Where naturally, you’ll have the influence of the Mediterranean diet. And in this study, over 60 percent of the participants used olive oil. The rest used sunflower or vegetable oil. And the majority of fried foods eaten were fish, meat, and eggs.
So what you fry and how you fry it may really make a difference.
What I do shy away from is breading with bread crumbs. In some recipes I do allow for parmesan, pork rind, almond flour and other healthier coatings for deep frying or even sautéing. I am a big fan of the sauté.
But, the main reason I don’t fear frying, is because I always use macadamia nut oil.
As this study pointed out, one of the benefits of olive oil is that it’s less prone to oxidation (which means it doesn’t break down into harmful substances when heated). However, macadamia nut oil is even better, in my opinion.
The smoke point of olive oil can vary greatly depending on how it’s processed. You never quite know what you’re getting. While macadamia nut oil has a consistently higher smoke point. So you can fry away knowing that it’s not going to break down and turn rancid.
Macadamia nut oil also has the same amount of calories (as if those matter) as any other oil and it has one of the best omega ratios you can find. In fact, it has an incredibly high amount of omega 7 fatty acids. This may be the reason why mac oil helps to speed up metabolism and raise good HDL cholesterol levels. Mac oil is also better than both olive oil and canola oil in the amount of omega 9 neutral fatty acids.
And of course, it’s rich, buttery flavor enhances everything.
Basically, “Anything olive oil can do, macadamia nut oil can do better.” (I know there’s an old song in there somewhere.)
So once you get the oil right, there’s another important point researchers made in their conclusion. And that’s the difference in how fried foods are typically eaten.
In Spain, people tend to eat fried foods both away from home (via fast food) and at home. When eating at home, researchers assume that the oil isn’t reused many times over as it often is at fast-food restaurants. Not only that, but they eat less fried, salty snacks as compared to the United States. So if you want to enjoy fried food–make it fresh at home.
As for that deep-fried Snickers bar I ate last year at the Texas State Fair…perhaps it wasn’t so bad for me after all. And, if they had used MacNut Oil to fry it in, and the chocolate were pure…I may have had a fighting chance…
Yes, I still feel guilty about that indulgence…but I cannot lie, it was yummy!