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Why should you care that there are polar compounds in your cooking oil? Because healthy oil leads to better product!

A polar compound is a molecule that has a charge on at least one side of it. It either wants to add an electron or wants to give away an electron to be more stable. Basically it does this by sharing its electron or borrowing it from another molecule. Because it is “attracted” to another molecule to share a charge, we call it “polar”… just like one end of a magnet is attracted to the North Pole.

Water is a polar compound, and oil is non-polar. Non-polar compounds aren’t charged at all, which is why they don’t dissolve in water. But there are other polar compounds that form through exposure of cooking oil to air and heat as well as moisture. By cooking longer and more dishes with the same fryer oil, more of these polar compounds form.

Did you know?

Soap is polar on one end and non polar on the other: Having both qualities in soap allows you to remove greases and oils from your hands, pots and pans. One end of the molecule mixes easily with the oil and the other easily with water. Non-polar substances mix easier with non-polar solvents. This is why one uses oil to remove a crayon mark (wax is a non-polar substance) from the wall yet water will not budge it unless you add soap.

Total Polar Compounds (TPC) includes compounds that have higher polarity, such as oxidized triglycerides, diacylglycerides and fatty acids, that are formed during the frying process. The maximum suggested levels for polar compounds present in frying or cooking fats and oils is 25g/100g of oil or 25%.

Main groups of compounds formed during frying

*This table was published at The AOCS Lipid Library

There are many factors that lead to the degradation of cooking oil over time. In this chart, you can see how air, water, and heat contribute to oil’s oxidation, hydrolysis, and polymerization. These processes cause polar compounds like free fatty acids, triglycerides, polymers, and others to form in the oil as it ages. OleoTest measure the combined polar compounds and can be held against a simple color spectrum to determine the age of the oil.

Measuring the percentage of polar compounds present in your cooking oil gives you a quantifiable result that is a good indicator of the condition of your fryer oil. You can easily maintain a consistent quality of your fried foods,in either a kitchen or manufacturing facility, just by running a simple test.