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Reheating oil harmful

Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, when used to fry foods, produce a toxic compound



OIL IN TROUBLED WATER This kind of recyling isn't healthy at all PHOTO: MOHAMMED YOUSUF

Polyunsaturated vegetable oils from plants such as soybeans and sunflowers are generally praised by nutritionists because they help people keep their cholesterol down and, it is believed, avoid heart disease. But a new study reports that when used to fry foods, the oils produce a toxic compound that has been associated with a variety of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and liver problems.

The findings, the researchers say, highlight the risk of reheating the oils or reusing them, since the amount of the compound, known as HNE, increases with each heating. "It adds up," said the lead researcher, A. Saari Csallany, a professor of Food Chemistry and Nutritional Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota. Other studies have shown HNE is absorbed by food cooked in polyunsaturated oil, Dr. Csallany said. The compound forms when the very component of unsaturated oils that is considered so healthful, linoleic acid, oxidises. The study reported that three other toxic compounds related to HNE had also been found in heated soybean oil. The researchers looked at what happened to the oils when they were heated for half an hour or more at 365 degrees. Now they want to study what happens to the oils at lower temperatures.

The New York Times

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