Cooking with Different Oils
Oil is an important ingredient of our diet and cooking routine. However, there are many different cooking oils to choose from and the type most often used differs for each home. Some commonly used oils are canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, and butter to name a few.
Many factors can lead us to choose one oil over another, including health concerns, availability, price, cooking method, and taste preference. Because oils are an important part of our diet, we would like to provide a little more information about some of the different kinds so that you can choose which is right for you and your family.
What are oils?
Oils are a type of fat that is generally liquid at room temperature. Oils come from a variety of different food sources, but most come from plants such as olive oil and canola oil.
Why are oils important for our diet?
While oils are NOT a food group, but they do provide some essential nutrients that are beneficial to our health.1
Which type of oil is the healthiest?
Oils that are higher in unsaturated fats (liquid at room temp) such as olive oil, fish oil, and avocado oil are heart-healthy and have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease. It is best to include foods that use these oils instead of oils high in saturated fats (solid at room temp) that increase risk of heart disease.
**The chart below categorizes oils/fats based on the percent of saturated fat they contain. It is important to recognize that ALL oils/fats are a mixture of saturated fats and unsaturated fats, however, each oil will vary in the amounts of each type.
How much oil should I consume?
While total calorie needs vary depending on age, gender, and physical activity, the general rule for someone eating a 2,000 calorie a day diet is 65g or less, roughly 5-6 teaspoons of oil a day. Many foods like meat, nuts, and salad dressings already have oil in the food itself. It’s important to read the nutrition label to see the amount of unsaturated/saturated fat in the food before you add any more.
How to select the right cooking oil
There are many options when choosing cooking oils. Selecting the right oil depends on the stability and processing of the oil and the method of cooking you plan to use. All oils have a variety of different flavors, which will affect what type of food you plan to pair them with. Whether you plan to sauté, bake or marinate your food, the chart here will help you choose the right cooking oil based on your cooking goals.