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Foodservice Frying: Myths and Facts

“Everything in moderation.” It’s our team’s opinion that whoever coined that phrase hit the nail on the head.

In today’s culture, food oftentimes gets labeled as “good,” “bad,” or even “super.” People go to great lengths to cut entire food groups out of their diet, and “diet” seems to have become synonymous with “deprivation” rather than a way to simply describe a person’s overall habitual eating pattern. But many nutrition experts agree that balance, variety and moderation (not deprivation!) are the keys to achieving and sustaining healthful eating habits.

Fried foods are one category which typically has been labeled as “bad.” However, food science and technology as well as industry practices have evolved in such a way that your favorite French fries aren’t as “bad” as you once thought.

For starters, traditional plant breeding techniques, such as the ones used to develop Omega-9 Oils, have led to oilseeds with specific traits which create oils with a healthier nutrition profile. Omega-9 Oils have zero trans fat, the lowest saturated fat among cooking oils, and a uniquely high amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Using an oil like Omega-9 Oil for frying can reduce saturated and trans fats by up to 80% when changing from partially hydrogenated soybean oil!

Other tactics can be used in the foodservice kitchen to optimize frying foods, healthfully speaking:

  • Fry time can have an impact on how much fat is absorbed into the final food product. A general rule of thumb is the longer you fry, the more fat is eventually absorbed. Maintaining shorter frying times is recommended.
  • Since the oil is not absorbed until after the food is removed from the fryer, proper draining immediately after frying can also reduce the amount of fat in the final food. This can be done through simple draining or even the use of centrifugation.
  • Removing water from the food you wish to fry can also help decrease fat absorption. If less water is present, there is less of an opportunity that oil will replace it. This could be done through methods like boiling or roasting prior to frying.
  • Changing the temperature of frying oil can also impact how much fat is absorbed in the final product.

Choosing the right oil and frying techniques can benefit both customers and the business.  Oils with higher oleic oil content are more stable and prevent polymerization, thus contributing to longer, cleaner frying with less oil build up on equipment. Longer fry life results in fewer oil changes per year, which can reduce product and labor costs, reduce packaging and improve other environmental impacts. Reducing polymerization improves equipment efficiency and decreases both equipment cleaning time and the use of harsh chemicals.

Starting with the right oil with the right fatty acid profile sets you on the right track for fried foods. Try our Healthier Frying Oil Calculator to see how switching to a healthier oil can lead to a healthier business.