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COMPARING COOKING OILS: WHICH IS BEST?

COMPARING COOKING OILS: WHICH IS BEST?

Anytime Fitness Australia

Nutrition & Recipes

Jul 19, 2021

The variety of cooking oils on the market to sauté, sizzle and bake with is really quite extensive. We are here to help you understand what each oil is made up of, what type of cooking each oil is best used for, PLUS the calorie breakdown of each (which might surprise you).

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL OR OLIVE OIL?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is at the top of our recommendation list when it comes to the type of oil that provides the most health benefits with the added bonus of a delicious taste to go with it. EVOO is one of the best ways you can boost your healthy monounsaturated fats. Make it a base for salad dressings, use it as your oil to cook meat, roast veggies, saute stir-fries and to add to sauces. It truly is one of the most versatile, and most nutritious.

Olive oil is still one of the healthiest oils on the market, however, EVOO provides a far less processed version, being an unrefined oil. EVOO is an oil that is created naturally, not extracted using chemicals or heat. This helps in allowing the oil to retain the benefits from its natural antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and vitamins that help in boosting things like your immunity and mental health too.

Both EVOO and Olive Oil are resistant to higher heat levels whilst cooking, making it harder for the oil to be broken down. Instead, they end up being absorbed by the cooked food, also helping the cooked food to retain some nutrients that are usually lost through cooking. EVOO and Olive Oil are best-used for low to medium heat cooking.

COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil for a while was dubbed a ‘super food’ in the health world. However, generally, many health professionals don’t agree with this claim due to its high levels of saturated fat, which can negatively impact cholesterol levels. It is an oil that is recommended to be used in moderation.

Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is great for a higher smoke point cook. It is often used best in baking, low-heat roasting, and greasing due to at room temperature, it being a solid oil. For dairy-free recipes, it is popular as an alternative to butter.

AVOCADO OIL

Avocado oil is definitely one of the lesser-known oils on the market. It is best for very high-temperature cooking as it has one of the highest smoking points. This makes it ideal for fish, eggs, or chicken, stir-frying or sautéing. On top of this, due to its delicious creamy avocado flavour, it is a great addition when whipping together homemade salad dressings. It has one of the highest monounsaturated fat contents of all cooking oils and is a wonderful source of vitamin E.

Similar to extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil is unrefined, providing much healthier natural benefits. However, it is often found at a higher price point than other oils, making it less popular and widely used in households for day-to-day cooking.

SESAME OIL

Sesame oil is most commonly and best used when cooking fragrant Asian dishes such as stir fries or curries, typically cooked in a wok. A little goes a long way with this oil both in its flavour and consistency, so be careful not to overdo it! It contains a very nice scent due to its sweet, nutty flavour.

Sesame oil is high in a number of antioxidants, plus in certain Asian culture, such as Taiwan, it has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory property such as on cuts, scrapes, toothaches or joint pain. On top of this, it is an oil that is lower in its cholesterol levels, unlike some others.

VEGETABLE (CANOLA/SUNFLOWER) OIL

Vegetable oils are any oil that is derived from a plant-based source, with canola and sunflower oils being some of the most popular and well-known. Vegetable oils are most commonly used for deep frying due to their high smoke point, low price point and lack of flavour. When it comes to your local fish and chips shop, you can almost guarantee this is the oil that is being used.

Vegetable oils are not one of the most nutritional oils, aside from containing vitamins E and K. It isn’t an oil that should be completely ignored, but you will find most nutritionists will point you in the direction of olive oil for more nutritious health benefits.

WHAT ARE THE CALORIES FOR EACH? (per 1 tablespoon)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 120 cal (save calories by using an EVOO spray)

Olive Oil: 133 cal

Coconut Oil: 117 cal

Sesame Oil: 124 cal

Avocado Oil: 123 cal

Vegetable Oil: 121 cal

As you can see above, the calorie differences between each of the cooking oils we looked into aren’t particularly varied. Instead, it is the quality of the ingredients that should be the priority when choosing an oil to use on a regular basis. Some are definitely better than others for certain meals, depending on the smoke point and flavour. For example, coconut oil is great for baking and sesame oil is great for Asian meals.