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Which cooking oil is the best?

The Good, The Bad and The Neutral

We've been classifying fats into the good and the bad categories for decades. Oils were classified based on the heart-smart values: the ability to raise or lower total and LDL cholesterol. However, some fats are neither - they don't raise or lower cholesterol. Instead, their effect on cholesterol is neutral.  

Good FatsOmega-3 and Mono-unsaturated fats (omega-9)

Neutral Fats: Omega-6 and Stearic acid (a type of saturated fat)

Bad Fats: Trans fats (commercial-type) and saturated fats (except stearic acid)

Top 10 Good Cooking Oils

Based on the above classification, the "ideal" cooking oil should contain a higher amount of the "good" fats (omega-3 and 9) and minimal saturated fats and transfats. 
The following oils are low in the "bad" fats listed above.

  • almond oil
  • apricot oil
  • avocado oil
  • canola oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • hazelnut oil
  • olive oil
  • peanut oil
  • pistachio oil
  • sunflower oil

Fat Comparison Chart

 

Fat (1 Tbsp)

Saturated
(grams)

Mono-
unsaturated (grams)

Poly-
unsaturated (grams)

Trans-fat (grams)

Safflower Oil

0.8

10.2

2.0

0.0

Canola Oil

0.9

8.2

4.1

0.0

Flaxseed Oil

1.3

2.5

10.2

0.0

Sunflower Oil

1.4

2.7

8.9

0.0

Corn Oil

1.7

3.3

8.0

0.0

Olive Oil

1.8

10.0

1.2

0.0

Sesame Oil

1.9

5.4

5.6

0.0

Soybean Oil

2.0

3.2

7.8

0.0

Margarine (tub)

2.0

5.2

3.8

0.5

Peanut Oil

2.3

6.2

4.3

0.0

Cottonseed Oil

3.5

2.4

7.0

0.0

Vegetable Shortening

3.2

5.7

3.3

1.7

Chicken Fat

3.8

5.7

2.6

0.0

Lard (pork fat)

5.0

5.8

1.4

0.0

Palm Oil

6.7

5.0

1.2

0.0

Butter

7.2

3.3

0.5

0.0

Cocoa Butter

8.1

4.5

0.4

0.0

Palm Kernel Oil

11.1

1.6

0.2

0.0

Coconut Oil

11.8

0.8

0.2

0.0

Furthermore, it is likely that corn, soy and canola oils are genetically-modified.  There are non- genetically-modified organic kinds of these oils available.  Check the label if you are concerned about genetically-modified products.

Choose sunflower oil or canola oil if you wish to fry foods, as these oils have a higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with extra-virgin olive oil, as its smoke point is only about 160°C. As soon as the liquid oils reach smoking point it acts like a transfat.

Smoke Points of some of the Fats and Oils

Vegetable Shortening (Hydrogenated)

160°C

Lard

160°C

Olive Oil

160°C

Butter

180°C

Corn Oil

200°C

Canola Oil

220°C

Clarified Butter

230°C

Sunflower Oil

230°C

Soybean Oil

230°C

Safflower Oil

250°C

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