Comparison of the frying performance of olive oil vs. palm oil

April 18, 2012

A study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that palm oil may be a suitable replacement for olive oil for frying foods. Deep-fat frying is an important method of food preparation but repeated use of frying oils increases the presence of atmospheric oxygen and produces various undesirable reactions. Stable frying oils usually require low linolenic acid (LnA < 3%), increased oleic acid (OA > 40%), and decreased linoleic acid (LA < 50%).

The researchers aimed to establish the behavior of palm superolein (PSO) (OA 45%; LA 12.5%; LnA 0.2%) and olive oil (OO) during repeated, discontinuous deep frying of French fries. The behavior of the oils under controlled heating conditions was also studied by maintaining all of the process variables the same as those in deep frying, except that there was no food in the oil. The researchers found that although the palm superolein presented a faster increase in some oxidation indices, such as free fatty acid and total polar compounds, for other indicators, PSO showed better behavior than OO (less formation of caprylic acid and lower peroxide value).

The researchers concluded that the palm superolein selected for use in this study can be a suitable replacement for olive oil for frying and cooking purposes because it provides higher oxidative stability. In fact, several studies have indicated that palm oil exhibits similar frying performance to high-oleicoils, with the advantages of greater availability in the market and a lower price.