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What is the Healthiest Oil to Use for Cooking?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The healthiest oil to cook with is one that is composed primarily of monounsaturated fat. Processed oils containing a high degree saturated fats are considered the least healthy by most doctors, but saturated fats from natural sources can have some benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, fat is actually a valuable part of one’s diet, allowing people to absorb nutrients that require fat in order to metabolize in the body. One of the healthiest oils is canola oil. Another good choice, and actually a frequent one is peanut oil, which is also high in monounsaturated fat.

Most oils from nuts are considered fairly healthy, but one should be careful using oil derived especially from peanuts or walnuts as these are most frequently indicated in severe nut allergies. If one plans to use peanut oil on a dish served to guests, be sure to verify that no guest has a peanut allergy.

Olive oil is considered by some to be the healthiest oil because it provides a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It can also be obtained in very pure form, which most health experts recommend. When looking for choosing an oil, one should look for oils that are minimally processed. Frequently, the more processed the oil, the less healthy it is.

Olive oil works well is medium-high cooking temperatures, and is also a great flavor additive to savory dishes. It may not be equally favored in sweeter baked goods because its flavor is relatively strong. Canola oil may be the healthiest oil and best choice for baked, sweet goods because it has minimal flavor.

Sunflower and safflower oil are higher in polyunsaturated fats but also have omega-6 fatty acids, which most doctors now recommend. In some cases either of these choices might be best for cooking. Safflower oil also has a high content of Vitamin E, which may consider very healthy.

Most experts recommend using peanut oil for high temperature cooking, canola oil or olive oil for medium temperature cooking, and a variety of polyunsaturated oils for baked goods. In a way there is no “healthiest oil” since each oil can offer different benefits and one may be a better choice than another in a cooking process.

Oils that can definitely not be considered as the healthiest oil are those derived from synthetically saturated fats. These include partially hydrogenated oils like Crisco. They often come in a solid rather than liquid form.

Even the healthy oils can contain a lot of calories so moderation is key. In general, use non-stick pans and a canola or olive oil cooking spray, which adds very little oil to a dish. The healthiest oil used to deep-fry will still be highly caloric, and in general give one more oil than is needed. Instead of deep-frying, stir-frying, grilling or baking are better methods for preparing food, since oil requirements in such dishes are much lower.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon351392 — On Oct 13, 2013

"In my country, canola oil is either cold pressed or extracted by moderate heat 80 degrees C. It is not genetically modified. "

What country is this? It must be in another dimension. In this world, Canola stands for 'Canada Oil', and it is genetically modified (through selective breeding) from rapeseed oil.

Rapeseed oil, without modification, is poisonous.

By anon351051 — On Oct 10, 2013

Rice bran oil is the best cooking oil. But don't take my word for it, look it up. Suriny Rice Bran Oil is my preferred choice.

By SavvyE1 — On May 14, 2013

My father is 81 years old. My mom used to cook with lard when I was seven years old -- the stuff that turns white. They now cook with canola oil, vegetable oil or whatever is healthier for them.

They eat a diet of fish, roots (like yucca, boniato, alanga, yautia) with bacalau, otherwise known as salted cod. They are regular people. I have been living around them for 23 years. My father just had a colonoscopy and he's fine, just a little scarring from some radiation he had for prostate cancer that he had in his 70s, maybe? That's it.

Enjoy your life. Don't get so hung up on so many things. Eat, pray and love. Be good to your temple, because in turn it will be good to you. Try and barbecue as much as possible. It avoids many oils anyway, even if you live up north. Invest in one, but most of all invest in yourself. Happy eating!

By anon334661 — On May 14, 2013

Omg...give it a break! My dad is 81yrs old...Has used the lard from Crisco when I was 7yrs old..And my mom use to get it out of cans..She cooked in lard people "Lard" now my brother is a vegetarian saying" O'h...don't cook in canola, vegetable, or any of that stuff...If you are healthy, you have been healthy for more than 10yrs without health insurance like me...You don't have to worry about these things. Keep your oil intake at a low pace. Eat rice pilaf, use bouillon. Eat your vegetables like your mother said...especially sweet potatoes & carrots & greens ( leafy greens). Barbecue more...Even if you live up north. Buy an inexpensive smoker & smoke in your back porch. And Pray, Eat & love...That's the key to health.

By anon325704 — On Mar 17, 2013

In my country, canola oil is either cold pressed or extracted by moderate heat 80 degrees C. It is not genetically modified. One year it is wheat, next peas, next rapeseed, next something else. 100 grams of coconut oil costs about 20-30 Euros for 1 liter. Canola is from 1.5 to 6.5 in my country. The higher price is eco and cold pressed. Deficiencies will show when all the idiots will use it and not realize it only contains saturated fats. Who uses it? Bodybuilders, paleodieters, vegans, Atkins fans and other maniacs. Coconut flakes are OK and the milk too, but the oil, never.

By anon313473 — On Jan 12, 2013

So many Australian breads and cakes and biscuits now have canola oil in them now. Please complain to the companies that make them so they change to olive oil or sunflower or safflower oil, which are much healthier for you.

By anon310784 — On Dec 27, 2012

Canola oil causes cancer and heart disease. Read Ray Peat. He has over 50 free articles And to be clear: he has a PHd in biochemistry and is not some naturopath whack.

By anon308943 — On Dec 13, 2012

Stop eating canola oil now! The Canadian government paid off the USDA to promote it as a health oil, when in fact it attacks joint health, and has many dangerous long term effects!

By anon304893 — On Nov 22, 2012

The best oils ARE coconut (a medium chain triglyceride) which is extremely healthy, as well as peanut, and grapeseed oils for cooking. All have a high smoke point.

The worst oil for any use is canola oil, which is processed using high heat, which changes the molecular structure of the oil, making it a hydrogenated product, which is why it turns like Crisco when water is added. It is also rancid before it reaches the store shelves, so avoid at all costs! Best for not cooking are EVOO and flax seed oil.

By anon294090 — On Sep 29, 2012

Fry in one oil, bake with another, but always make your popcorn with grapeseed oil. No melted butter needed. Have fun.

By anon286087 — On Aug 19, 2012

There is so much misinformation in these comments it's ridiculous. I love how some people say "don't believe the scientists, they're all bought out by big companies", but then believe every word of the coconut oil manufacturers and "health food gurus" whose entire livelihood is based on you buying their crackpot theories.

By anon282177 — On Jul 27, 2012

My family hails from Kerala and traditionally we use coconut oil for cooking. As times changed all families around us moved to other cooking oils based on many reviews in the paper and internet. My Dad stuck to his taste buds and we stayed with coconut oil. To this day, all in our family are healthy.

My Dad died at age 85. He never exercised, never controlled his diet and never did any hard work except eat and read. It goes the same with all in our family and all of those whom I know who never changed their lifestyles.

I've been reading research information that kept on changing as times passed by! I strongly believe that our DNA by hereditary is fine-tuned to handle a specific style of food that it has had for generations. Changing this food style is like putting petrol in a diesel engine. You will only end up in trouble. It has nothing to do with the fuel quality. It's all in using the right fuel for the right engine. This is time-tested, not lab-tested. So, stick to your traditional oil and food habits and it will let you live longer, like your forefathers.

By anon278484 — On Jul 06, 2012

Crisco is not an oil. An oil by definition is liquid at room temperature. Hydrocarbons which are solid at room temperature are fats. So as our grandmothers all knew, Crisco, lard, etc. are fats, not oils.

By anon275158 — On Jun 16, 2012

Have tried carotina oil and to my surprise, it is indeed very good -- the best around. I fully agree with Randy and thank him for sharing. Coconut oil is indeed very good.

By anon261050 — On Apr 13, 2012

For canola oil and sunflower oil to be healthy for us, they must be "expeller pressed."

By anon250607 — On Feb 26, 2012

Holy crap, what a lot of random opinions and internet urban legends in here.

No, Canola oil is not hydrogenated (hydrogenated oils tend to be solid at room temp).

Most canola oil is from GMO (i.e., genetically modified). Canola plants? I'm not sure if you can get organic canola (most soy and corn oil is also GMO)

Canola was bred from rapeseed, removing the poisonous substance (by the the way the "rape" in "rapeseed" is from the Latin word for turnip).

Canola is processed with hexane, i.e., it's not some nice 'cold pressed' oil like olive oil.

Soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, etc. are also processed with hexane.

So at the end of the day, you're best bet would be an organic oil that you can somehow determine was mechanically pressed and not processed with hexane. As for canola, it's comparable to most of the other ones, but it's a generic, boring oil, and likely from GMO crops. I don't think it's unhealthy for you, but enriching the companies who own most of the food industry through copyrighting GMO designed food, are.

I personally use grapeseed oil to fry, and extra virgin (or even extra virgin unfiltered) olive oil to put on food raw, or perhaps bake.

By anon247971 — On Feb 15, 2012

This article is misleading. Canola oil is from rapeseed, and I heard that entirely all rapeseeds are GMO products. That is one. And two, canola oil is the cheapest oil in the market that I can find. Healthy food won't be cheap in these days. Use a little bit more common sense, folks.

By anon245790 — On Feb 06, 2012

I switched from using EVOO for cooking to canola because of its high smoke point. That worked very well. However, can anyone explain why when I wash the pan with some Canola oil residue in it, the oil turns into a semi-solid in either warm or cold water. Sort of looks like crisco!

From there, I switched to grapeseed oil, which has a very high smoke point and a very mild pleasant favor. Neither EVOO nor grapeseed oil turns semi-solid in any water. Why just the canola oil?

By anon240043 — On Jan 12, 2012

Thought I would join the great oil debate.

Best oils for dressings/marinades: Extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed hemp oil (often overlooked). Note that these two oils have a low smoke point and lose a lot of their health benefits when heated.

Best oils for cooking: Butter (ideally organic, from grass fed animals), coconut oil, olive oil (not virgin).

Stay away from vegetable oil, peanut oil and canola.

You're welcome.

By arroyowash — On Dec 08, 2011

There is a lot of parroting going on here. Mary G. Enig, PhD, an expert of international renown in the field of lipid biochemistry, has accurate information and she gives a big thumbs down to canola oil. The important issues are the the sterol compounds and the processing – the trans fats created, the lack of omega-3s after processing, and the hexane residues. Modern canola oil processing is far from gentle and is what is responsible for making it unhealthy.

The Mayo Clinic still recommends margarine - a lethal tub of trans fats. Commercial nutrition education is greatly influenced by the processed food industry. Mainstream nutritionists simply do not get good information. Mayo says canola is good. Don't believe it for a second.

Just as we have learned there are good carbs (vegetables) and bad carbs (chips, pasta, bread), the day will come when people understand there are good and bad fats. Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating sugar is unhealthy and will add the pounds and increase risk of heart disease and cancer. so will eating fried fats and vegetable oils. Stick to what mankind ate before food came out of a factory.

The original studies on coconut oil were purposely done on partially hydrogenated coconut oil so it would look bad; the soy sellers wanted to increase market share. This was after World War II.

The coconut-growing countries did not have the money or the clout to compete with home-grown soy producers so they lost the PR battle. But they should not have. The best thing to cook or bake with is virgin coconut oil. The best thing to make salad dressings with is unfiltered olive oil.

By anon220133 — On Oct 05, 2011

Holy cow. Whoever said coconut oil is best has lost their mind. Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fats -- higher than any other oil. The best oil isn't olive oil either. The best oil is flaxseed oil. The best popular oil is canola Oil. Canola oil is made from rapeseed in canada, and nobody wants to use something from rapeseed so they called it "Can Ola" -- Canadian oil. It has omega 3 fatty acids which makes it better than olive oil which only has monounsaturated and saturated fats.

By anon185283 — On Jun 11, 2011

I am a native of Kerala. All our family uses coconut oil for all purposes. It's good and tasty.

Last year i moved to the middle east and I'm unaware of the availability of coconut oil here. Everywhere i saw sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, etc. So naturally i started using sunflower oil. first i felt the taste difference, but we didn't try to change thought that it is the first time using sunflower. After one year, i had a medical check up. I was shocked to see the result of my blood tests. There were huge variations in the hormone levels and I' m afraid and asked the opinions of doctors here.

They didn't know the reason, only that they knew that everyone has the same problem: maybe because of climate or because of food habits. We don't have the habit of eating outside, so food habits are not the villain here. So we thought a lot and asked the doctors in Kerala.

From their view points i understood that, we changed our food habits only on using the oil. So I made a decision immediately. I never use any cooking oils except our own coconut oil. In the meantime, I'm try to manage the availability of coconut oil. It is available in every super market but only a few people using it. So they kept it in somewhere else in a corner!

So use coconut oil. It's good for health. It has the ability to lower the cholesterol level.

By anon184898 — On Jun 09, 2011

This is so controversial that you should conduct your own research. I did and decided to use rice bran oil or avocado oil. Make sure you research these before choosing the more commonly available oils. I use these for all my cooking including deep frying. Pay particular attention to the smoke point and the percentage of the different fat types.

By anon178167 — On May 20, 2011

If you believe the no. 1 expert on oil in the world, this website is ill informed. Udo Eramas wrote the book "Fats That Heal and Fats that Kill". The difference between good and bad oils is processing (heat is processing). So take all the good oils, like olive oil, and heat it and it is bad. By the way the best oil for holding up in heat is coconut oil, but it denatures at 170 degrees. --Healthy Jim

By randy653 — On Mar 28, 2011

Seven years ago I had a heart attack. I was 47 years old. I was told I had congestive heart failure and had a stent put in. Two years later, I was diagnosed with diabetes and put on insulin (50 units of lantus and a base of 14 units of humalog on a sliding scale, five injections every day and was on 27 different prescription drugs).

I always thought that I ate pretty healthy because heart disease runs in both sides of my family. I lost both of my parents (who were both in their late 40s) and all of my grandparents to heart disease, except my paternal grandmother who is still alive and active at 103! She worked until she was 77 and still lives alone. She always ate what I thought was the worst food. She always uses lard and real butter and bakes with coconut oil and she bakes a lot and man, is it always so good!

Right after I had my heart attack, my cholesterol was off the charts and my triglycerides were over 1700! So I changed my eating habits and cut back on sweets and you know what? It didn’t change a thing! I subsequently had three more heart attacks and eight more stents and more cholesterol lowering medications and a total of 12 heart caths. Then I started thinking about my grandmother and her diet. How was she so healthy? So I talked to my doctor and told him about her and her diet, and he said it’s in her genes is the only explanation he could come up with. I didn’t think so because I have some of her genes in me, I wasn’t buying it -- at all. So I thought I would give grandma’s diet a shot.

First thing I did was stop drinking and eating anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, then I threw away all the margarine and canola oil and ordered some pure coconut oil off the internet and started using real butter in May 2010. At that time, I weighed 282 pounds. In the first week I lost seven pounds. I went to the doctor in August and had lost 23 pounds and my cholesterol levels were significantly better. I didn’t tell him what I was doing with my diet.

After that, (because I really don’t care for fried foods in the first place) I started using the coconut oil in place of butter on everything and kept losing weight slowly and had a lot more energy, it seemed. I went to the doctor in November. Things were even better! He even lowered the dosage on some meds and my blood sugar levels were finally under control.

I went back to the doctor in January. I had more weight loss and my cholesterol levels where normal so he took me off one of the meds for cholesterol. I went to the doctor last week, have lost a total of 73 pounds, my cholesterol is perfect and blood sugar levels have been perfect for the past six months and I have never had so much energy!

I don’t think the coconut oil has had as much to do with lowering my blood sugar as cutting out the high fructose corn syrup has, but I know it tremendously helped with me losing weight and reducing my cholesterol to normal. Now I am totally off insulin and am only on three prescription drugs and the doctor said I’ll probably stop those in June. So I am a big believer in coconut oil. I sometimes eat spoonful if I feel run down -- really! It works!!Next visit to the doctor I am going to tell him how I did it. I can’t wait!

By anon153797 — On Feb 18, 2011

So many unbelievable food snobs out there. Before spouting off your ideologies about which oil is 'big company' or 'will totally kill you', how about producing some evidence to back up those theories?

And I don't mean the crap you hear from your bag man down at the local co-op - that's not fact based. Read the lit, do the research - make your own decisions. I fry with canola and use olive for cold stuff, but that's me. Get over yourself, food elitists - you don't know half of what you think you do.

By anon149905 — On Feb 06, 2011

The healthiest oil or fat is saturated, that is, either coconut or palm oil, the unrefined varieties. Animal fat is especially good for deep frying also.

Extra Virgin olive oil, evoo, is also good for frying, as is peanut oil. If anyone tells you to cook with Canola, Sunflower, Safflower, Corn or any other vegetable oil, run away from them - but not before telling them where they can get off.

These polyunsaturated oils break down at high temperatures and produce free radicals which harm our dna and cause cell damage. Cooking with them also produce trans fats which are very harmful, leading to heart disease and cancer. The same goes for all margarines and other hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

If anyone recommends them the named vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats, they are either ignorant or are in the pay of big food.

Trust me - or start doing your own research.

By anon124163 — On Nov 04, 2010

I'm still a little confused on which oil is the healthiest alternative to use in a deep fryer. I thought id check and see if there was a better choice than canola oil. This article helps though. --Jon

By anon122106 — On Oct 26, 2010

Coconut Oil has been recently proven to be the healthiest cooking oil available. It's type of saturated fats were previously viewed to be terrible for you but actually in the case of coconut oil's particular type of saturated fat the reverse is true.

The molecule chain is so stable that it doesn't break down even at extreme high temperature like practically every other oil out there. Its smoke point is 2-3 times higher olive oil (which is healthy until the molecule breaks down.)

Anyway, just putting it out there. There's a lot of misinformation about coconut oil out there, still but its time will come. Too bad its still so pricey!

By anon120447 — On Oct 21, 2010

I am a regular user of canola oil, be it in baking or deep-frying. I always like to cook in Canola oil. In fact, i was a heart patient, so one day my doctor recommend canola oil to me. It's been four years and i still prefer canola oil. It's the best cooking oil for heart patients.

By anon118969 — On Oct 16, 2010

Banksia oil (Banksia Integrefolia) is excellent for cooking. It has a very high smoke point and imparts a delicious floral fragrance to Asian and Western meat dishes.

By anon118558 — On Oct 14, 2010

Whoever poster 48 is doesn't even know what's up. Here's the deal, which can be very evident with personal experience with your own body, and is well documented in studies, such as you can find posted on the internet, and academic journals:

Vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, corn, even olive oil, are not as good for our bodies(or rather, they are harmful, but, different people, different degrees of buffering the unhealthiness) as quality butter, lard, beef tallow, coconut oil, palm oil, and cream.

Of course, the more quality these products are grown, the better. For example, in the case of beef, grass feed is way better than grain fed, in terms of both nutrition and flavor.

By anon115804 — On Oct 04, 2010

Wow there is a lot of misinformation being spread in these comments. The author is merely mentioning which oils are nutritionally better for you.

While on a side note, each have their own qualities that make each better for different cooking applications, certain oils are better for you than others. As a rule of thumb oils that should be avoided at all costs are oils with high amounts of saturated fats such as coconut oil, butter, beef tallow, palm oil and lard. While those may be better to cook with in certain situations, they are genuinely not good for you.

Many vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) and monounsaturated fats are considered healthy when eaten in moderate portions. The previously mentioned fats have been shown to help to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, and other body functions important to health when eaten in moderation.

By anon111108 — On Sep 15, 2010

I regularly use canola oil in my food for baking as well as for frying. Canola oil is much better than olive oil.

Do you know that canola cooking oil provides the highest unsaturated (good) fats and the lowest saturated (bad) fats amongst all cooking oils in the world.

Canola oil is believed to reduce risk of high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, coronary heart problems, cancer, memory loss, diabetes and also cures indigestion.

Go for canola oil. It really works. --Karan k., India

By anon97670 — On Jul 20, 2010

Why do you say that canola oil is the healthiest then say that, "Frequently, the more processed the oil, the less healthy it is." Doesn't make sense considering canola oil is one of the most highly processed oils!

By anon90435 — On Jun 16, 2010

What about soybean oil? Is it good for high temp deep frying?

By anon84469 — On May 15, 2010

The more saturated the oil, the better it can withstand higher temperatures and still remain stable. Do not cook with high unsaturated oils! you will end up eating rancid oil! Use coconut, palm, butter, ghee, cocoa butter, to cook/fry with.

Think about it: things like coconuts and palms grow in really hot climates - they've adapted to higher temperatures and can remain stable under those conditions.

Use olive mostly for low-temp cooking because it doesn't have as much saturated fat in it.

By the way, if an oil has a high "smoke point" that doesn't mean squat in terms of health and cooking. Take canola for example. It may take up to 400 F for it to start smoking, but by then the highly sensitive poly and mono-unsaturated fatty acids have been badly damaged by the heat and already have gone rancid.

By debunarayan — On May 13, 2010

Coconut oil is the best.

At all costs, avoid seed, soy and flower oils (except flax seed). These were promoted lobbying by these companies.

Any thing which says approved/tested by American food, blah, blah, blah, please stay away. They will promote those things which make people sick thereby profiting the pharma industry. This is an age-old agenda.

By far coconut oil is the best. Our family has been using it for ages.

By anon83220 — On May 10, 2010

Carotino or red palm fruit oil is the best oil.

By anon77854 — On Apr 15, 2010

Everyone needs to look into coconut oil. Turns out it's the opposite of bad for you --after all this time.

By anon72396 — On Mar 23, 2010

Canola makes people ill.

You can search and see how many people have been getting sick from it.

Go ahead and continue to consume it if you want. I will be sitting back and watching as you slowly poison yourself.

By anon67101 — On Feb 23, 2010

To anon53722- You're right to believe moderation and exercise are definite paths to a healthy living. However, your disregard for a *health* discussion on oil based on the diet of another country whose terrain, weather, wild and plant life, etc., differ from our own is unfounded.

Oil may not be the entirety to health, but many still seek more ways to better themselves mentally and physically. The many I speak of could be the healthiest anyone has laid eyes on, yet search for more ways to be even *more* healthy. Is there such a phrase as *too* healthy. I am inclined to think not.

Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I am not. The point is, would you mock people who go to such lengths to better themselves that they would take the time to research an edible such as oil in the hopes of increasing their health by even the slightest amount?

Your enjoyment in their struggles is, I'm sure, due to your lack of enthusiasm in the topic. I would like to end by saying, just because you find little interest in a discussion *dedicated* to health, please do not steal the motivation that drives others to improve their body and/or mind. Thank you for your time.

By anon67033 — On Feb 22, 2010

much of the canola oil comes from genetically-modified seeds which is not good.

By anon66792 — On Feb 21, 2010

This is such a controversial subject. The difficulty in finding any reputable information lies in the fact that different industries and lobbies are the ones that pay for the research and studies. I have to say that it makes sense to use the least processed and most natural state of foods.

Right now, we use EVOO for salads, dips and low temp, grape seed oil for cooking at medium high temp and coconut oil for high temp cooking and baking. I don't know what I'll find that might change my mind, but that's what we like now.


By anon65915 — On Feb 16, 2010

My grandfather lived until he was 106 years of age. And he used lard to cook his foods. Everything came out of the garden or came directly from a slaughter house. He never ate in restaurants, or if he didn't know you and how clean you were. He would not eat your cooking. And he was healthy all his life. No health problems. I don't ever remember him being sick.

By anon64392 — On Feb 07, 2010

why do we have to use as little cooking oil or butter as possible when cooking?

By anon61984 — On Jan 24, 2010

Europeans may eat as much or more than Americans however they walk more, take longer lunch breaks, and have more vacation time. My parents lived in Europe, never dieted, but walked every day. Both died in their middle 90s.

By anon61974 — On Jan 23, 2010

Can I just use fish oil?

By anon57392 — On Dec 22, 2009

You guys should try rice bran oil -- it's the best and healthiest cooking oil available.

By anon54164 — On Nov 27, 2009

This is ridiculous. With all the assorted opinions, from doctors, nutritionists, public input, soothsayers and physic food gurus, how is anyone honestly supposed to feel confident that they have been led to the proper and healthiest oil for consumption?

I am not going to buy an oil for every occasion: this one for high temps, this one for low temps, and this one for heart healthy properties, and this one to stave off cancer.

Most people want to know this: If I were to have but just one oil for cooking that won't kill me, which one is it?

Everything else about oils is purely conversational useless chatter.

By anon53967 — On Nov 25, 2009

Why do some say that coconut oil is bad for you? Tropical oils were very popular in the US food industry prior to World War II. The US is the largest exporter of soybeans. The well oiled marketing machinery funded by the soy bean and corn industry and supported by the American Heart Association was committed to change the American diet, calling among others, for the substitution of saturated fats for polyunsaturates. The Prudent Diet, as it was called, left a legacy which still haunts us today.

Forty years on, this conceptual change in the eating habits of Americans has negatively influenced and changed the dietary regimes of societies all around the world that were initially not even affected by America's particular meat, potato and milk diet. So determined was the pursuit of the American industries in converting their claims into magnificent billboards of health and wealth that even small island nations in the South Pacific were converted by this powerful marketing machine to change centuries of dietary traditions of tropical oils to importing polyunsaturated fats.

Today heart disease is still on the increase and obesity, linked to the “new” American diet, is a major social problem worldwide that has governments worried about the health care cost of future generations. The U.K. and Australia unfortunately, are racing to catch up to their allies with a large percentage of the population being defined as overweight.

Studies were done to show that coconut oil, and all saturated fats, were bad for one's health because they raised serum cholesterol levels. However, these studies were done on hydrogenated coconut oil, and all hydrogenated oils produce higher serum cholesterol levels, whether they are saturated or not.

Recent research shows that it is the presence of trans fatty acids that causes health problems, as they are fatty acid chains that have been altered from their original form in nature by the oil refining process.

Although many studies at the time had also shown research to the contrary, the mud stuck and by the mid 60’s the reputation of all saturated oils in America had been destroyed. This reputation later extended to the rest of the western world.

By anon53966 — On Nov 25, 2009

Coconut oil is absolutely the best oil. most people have no idea what is even meant by saturated fats.

By anon53722 — On Nov 24, 2009

I've never seen a debate on which oil is healthiest. It's hilarious! In my opinion, who cares? Eat food in moderation and exercise!

People in other countries eat far worse than Americans do and they live longer with less cancer, heart disease, etc. Why? They have balance in their lives. Eat, exercise and live! In other words, to stay healthy is more than just what oil you use -- coconut, olive oil, canola, etc.

By anon51272 — On Nov 04, 2009

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils (if not the healthiest) despite it being high in saturated fat. The saturated fat in coconut oil reacts differently in the body than mainstream "industrial" saturated fat.

By anon46566 — On Sep 27, 2009

Coconut oil has been used far longer than any oil on earth and time has proven it to be very healthy. Olive oil is great to eat but poor for cooking at any thing close to hot tempertures.

By anon46390 — On Sep 25, 2009

Hydrogenated oil is an oil that has hydrogen introduced at high temperature to make a solid such as margarine. It comes out a filthy brown color which is then bleached to yellow to resemble something that is good for you, i.e. butter. Saturated fats with long chain fatty acids such as coconut oil are far superior than any poly or mono and have an extremely high temp tolerance. Unfortunately corporate farming doesn't have health high on their agendas.

By anon44499 — On Sep 08, 2009

Grapeseed oil is *not* rapeseed oil, a.k.a. Canola Oil. Don't get it twisted!

By anon43177 — On Aug 26, 2009

I'm of the opinnion that nut seed oils, *especially* canola oil, are unhealthy. They give me certain health problems, and I've also read on the Internet that they'll lower your metabolism and energy levels. This seems to match what I have noticed in myself when I eat large amounts of products containing canola, soybean, sunflower or cottonseed oil. That they've been trying to pass themselves off as healthy is ludicrous.

By Lorelei — On May 17, 2009

More recent research has nutritionists recommending staying away from canola oil whenever possible. It has been linked to vitamin E deficiency and heart disease, plus it goes rancid easily.

Olive oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil and even walnut oil are considered by many nutritionists to be superior to canola oil.

By anon29871 — On Apr 10, 2009

Actually, not all olive oils have a "fairly high" cooking temperature. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has a relatively low smoke point and is generally not recommended for high-temperature cooking. When oils are heated long enough to smoke, the healthy compounds break down, and unhealthy substances are formed. Plus, at least with EVOO, the delicate flavors break down.

For frying, pure olive oil or light olive oil are better choices than EVOO. For salad dressings, dipping oil for bread, drizzling over steamed vegetables, etc., go with EVOO.

By anon28567 — On Mar 18, 2009

Coconut oil is the absolute healthiest oil. It has a high smoke point making it excellent for frying. Saturated fat is by far the best. Think about it. It is saturated; it is the least reactive of any of the oils. Coconut oil also has excellent anti-viral & anti-biotic properties. Mono-unsaturated is second best, & *any* polyunsaturated should be used as machinery lubricant.

By anon26911 — On Feb 21, 2009


Actually the Inuit (Eskimo) mainly ate *just* animal protein and fat. This cannot be compared to the standard American diet since it is likely the Inuit spent majority of their lives in ketosis (fat metabolism), and the average American doesn't (glucose metabolism).

Fat can be consumed in generous portions. It is just when carbs are thrown in the mix (particularly high-glycemic ones) that high levels of dietary fat, good or bad, causes health issues such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.

By anon24801 — On Jan 18, 2009

1) Canola oil is a marketing term (CANadian OIL) for cultivated rapeseed oil. Originally, rapeseed oil was used for industrial purposes because it has high content of euric acid that is believed to be carcinogenic for humans together with disagreeable taste. Canola comes from low euric rapeseed cultivar, and is believed to be comparable to other seed oils like soybean or sunflower in terms of fatty acid composition.

2) Grapeseed oil is different from rapeseed oil (see 1), because grapeseed oil comes from the little hard particles contained in grapes. Grapeseed oil is usually a secondary product of a wineyard, and its main advantage is high smoke point, and therefore it's good for frying.

3) The point about bad health effects of saturated fats is controversial. Historically, there was a fight between the butter lobby and the margarine lobby, and finally the margarine lobby sort of won by convincing the public that butter is bad for health. That was before other studies discovered that trans-fats containted in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarince, Crisco) are definitely even worse than lard or butter. It's true that it's probably not good for people with sedentary lifestyle to eat a lot of lard, but on the other hand, there are groups of people (like Eskimos), whose diet consists predominantly of saturated animal fats, and yet they have no cardiovascular problems. The same goes for coconut and palm oil. Always look who finances what research and check references, there's lot of money in oleochemistry and the opinions change every decade.

By anon19498 — On Oct 13, 2008

Coconut oil is NOT the healthiest for you! It is actually composed majorly of saturated fats, so try to avoid it at all costs! Stick to olive or canola oils as the article says.

By anon14319 — On Jun 14, 2008

Yes coconut oil is the best...at least that's what i hear.

By thoward — On Apr 15, 2008

I was in the understanding that coconut oil is the best oil to use in any kind of cooking. Is this true or not?

By anon9599 — On Mar 09, 2008

does anyone know of cottonseed oil? I am trying to determine how healthy this oil is to deep fry in compared to other oils, but can find very little info on cottonseed oil.

By anon9195 — On Mar 01, 2008

Canola = Canadian oil low acid. It is from the rapeseed and has the bad stuff removed so it doesn't cause cancer or something like regular rapeseed oil.

By olivia — On Jan 04, 2008

i can see how this can be a confusing topic. there is no one single answer to this question because comparing all oils to each other can be akin to comparing apples and oranges. i conducted a bit of my own research and read one one site that rice bran oil was the healthiest, another touted coconut oil, while still another claimed that olive oil was the best.

most will agree that canola oil that has not been hydrogenated or mixed with other oils is the healthiest in terms of having the least saturated fat. however, it's not always the first choice for high temperature cooking, so in that case you'd have to go with a different oil better suited for high temp cooking.

choosing the "healthiest oil" has a lot to do with how you will be using it, and by what standards you measure "healthy." olive oil has the highest monounsaturated fat acids (good), and safflower has the highest polyunsaturated fat acids (good). coconut may have gotten a bad rap in the past for high fat, but is extremely high in lauric acid, which doctors are finding help treat numerous ailments.

so, take this list of healthy oils, and try to integrate several types into your diet--in moderation of course! you'll like the variety.

By anon6614 — On Jan 04, 2008

The main article says "Canola oil may be the healthiest oil" and then the discussion closes with "Canola oil is one of the most unhealthy oils used today." It can't be both ways....

By anon5060 — On Nov 11, 2007

Canola is one of the most unhealthy oils used today. It is a cheap manufactured oil. There is no reason to use canola, there are so many alternative oils that are actually healthy oils...grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, macadamia nut...do your research before believing everything you read, look into manufacturer company sponsored research done on their own products.

By anon2198 — On Jul 02, 2007

What are all the compounds formed while frying refined sunflower / edible oils?

By frogholo — On Jun 09, 2007

Hang on there anonymous. Canola oil is also known as "RAPESEED" oil. Yes, it comes from the Canola plant.

GRAPESEED oil comes from grape seeds and is one of the premier cooking oils, having a high smoke point and a neutral taste.

If you are really interested in high quality cooking oil, try Macadamia oil. It is richer in monounsaturates than olive oil...and it tastes better.

By anon1251 — On May 22, 2007

Canola oil is not a hydrogenated oil, but is a plant based oil. Europeans call canola grapeseed and its a great oil seed crop for North American farmers. If you see the term hyrdrogenated canola oil, that means someone took the nice healthy oil and then processed it to produce a hydrogenated product. Naturally however, the oil is not hydrogenated.

By anon1138 — On May 17, 2007

Am I wrong in believing Canola Oil is a form of Hydrogenated Oil. If it is a Hydrogenated Oil, Why are you recommending it for high temperature cooking?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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