A new study out of Scotland links foods cooked at high temperatures to heart disease.
Why is cooking food at high temperatures a problem?
When you take a healthy piece of food and cook it at a high temperature, chemicals called NFC or neo-formed contaminants are released. Trans-fatty acids or trans fats belong to this group. And they’re produced at a very high rate when the cooking temp is high. Trans fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease.
Does that mean using a lot of oil is bad for your heart?
The study found it’s the cooking process, not the amount of oil we're using. A healthy oil can be changed into an unhealthy oil by heating and frying. Oils are often used to cook foods at high temperatures. The researchers believe this may explain the higher rates of heart disease seen in certain populations, like those of South Asian descent.
What are your prescriptions?
You can't avoid these cooking methods all the time but you can make change, so here are my prescriptions:
1. Try not to boil your oils when cooking. This will help avoid releasing harmful chemicals.
2. Eat fried foods in moderation and reduce your serving size to lower fat and cholesterol intake.
3. Eat a balanced diet. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.
4. Use oils wisely. Every tablespoon has roughly 120 calories and 13 g of fat so use a small amount when preparing foods.
Why is the heart disease rate higher for South Asians?
South Asians include people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. They have a four times greater risk of heart disease and that’s because Indian cooking often uses longer, deeper frying methods of foods