In 2007, the University of Dayton Research Institute conducted a study to determine the difference in toxic fume release between frying in olive vs. canola oils. The study focused on chemical compound pollutants in acetaldehyde – labeled as a ‘”probable human carcinogen”’ by the EPA, and acrolein – labeled as ‘”extremely toxic to humans” and “a possible human carcinogen”’ by the EPA. Research findings indicated that the higher the frying temperature, the greater the difference in toxic fume production. At 356 F, acetaldehyde release was two times greater from canola than olive oil. At the same temperature, acrolein release was five times greater from canola oil. At 464 F, acetaldehyde release was five times greater while acrolein measured as high as nine times more for canola oil. As for the reasons behind the findings, “The researchers theorize that the inherent antioxidant qualities of olives oils may have prevented fatty acids from breaking down and releasing toxins as quickly as canola oil”. Cooking recommendations are twofold: use olive oil instead of canola oil and do not fry at temperatures higher than 350 F.
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