Taking A Look At The Most Popular Cooking Oils

September 16, 2019

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Fat in the nutrition world has gotten a bad rap.  Shunned as being bad for your body, organs such as the heat, uses fat as its primary energy source. One of the good sources of fat sits in the cooking oil aisle but in an ever-growing shelf of selection, there are many options of cooking oils to use: coconut, corn, hemp, olive, walnut, to name a few—and all have roughly 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. The proportion of the different types of fats that make up these oils—monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated—is what matters, and that can vary dramatically from oil to oil. So how do you choose a healthy oil for cooking? Let's take a look at five of the big cooking oils.  Avocado oil is low in saturated fat and high in the monounsaturated kind. If you find that olive oil is too strong a flavor for you, avocado is a good option with similar fat content. It has a high smoke point, which makes it a good fit for a variety of cooking methods, such as sautéing and searing, but not for deep frying. Canola oil is made from the seed of the canola plant (a variety of rapeseed), it has a neutral flavor, similar to vegetable oil. It is very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. Use it for dishes where you want other flavors to stand out, such as in baked goods, or on delicate fresh fish. It's good for medium- to high-heat cooking. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil can taste of fresh-cut grass, herbs, nuts, butter, or fruit. Some oils have a sharp, peppery bite or slight bitterness. “Extra virgin” bottles have the boldest flavor. In addition to monounsaturated fats, extra-virgin olive oil has antioxidants and polyphenols that fight cell damage. Although high on the price scale, extra virgin is great as a dip or in salad dressing. Drizzle over bean, grain, or pasta dishes. Use virgin, light, and just plain olive oil for sautéing veggies or meat. There are two types of safflower oil, high oleic and linoleic. High oleic is rich in monounsaturated fats, while linoleic is rich in polyunsaturated fats. its unassuming taste and high smoke point make it perfect for a variety of dishes and cooking, such as for baked goods, curries, and stir-fries, as well as sautéing and deep frying. Despite what you may have heard, coconut oil isn’t a healthy choice; it has more total saturated fat than beef or butter. It’s high in a type of saturated fat called lauric acid, which proponents claim makes it healthier than other foods high in saturated fat. But only 12 percent of the oil is lauric acid. Refined versions of coconut oil have very high smoke points, so they’re good for frying recipes or in Asian dishes, such as curries. It’s almost all heart-unhealthy saturated fat, though, so it’s best to use this type of oil in moderation. 

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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