Surprisingly, there is not that much of a variance in calories with most oils. Not enough to be too concerned about anyway. Most fats and oils sit between 100 and 130 calories per tablespoon. That being said, if you are on a strict low-calorie diet, and every single one counts, or vice versa, and you are looking to maximise your caloric intake, then the following are the highest calorie fats and oils per 15mL tablespoon:
- Cashew oil 130 calories/tbsp
- Duck fat 130 calories/tbsp
- Pecan oil 130 calories/tbsp
- Pistachio oil 130 calories/tbsp
- Pumpkin seed oil 130 calories/tbsp
Let’s talk about calories in oils and why some fats and oils might be better than others!
Why Do Some Oils Have More Calories Than Others?
Cooking oil is a high-fat ingredient, containing more calories per gram (9 calories) compared to high-carb or high-protein foods (4 calories). But, higher calorie content does not necessarily make oil terrible. Our bodies require calories for energy.
Considering each gram of fat or oil is equivalent to more or less nine calories, my best guess as to why some fats and oils are higher in calories than others is because of the measurement as a teaspoon in mL. Some oils weigh more than others and, therefore, will be a higher weight per teaspoon, so they will have more calories within that teaspoon. But that is a working theory and not a fact!
How Much Oil Is Too Much Oil
It is usually recommended that fat intake comprises around 20% to 40% of total daily calorie consumption. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s body and metabolism are unique, so these numbers may vary slightly and can change over time.
To ensure a healthy balance, no more than 30% of total calories come from fat. For instance, on a 2000-calorie diet, this would equal approximately 600 calories from fat, roughly equivalent to 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 4.5 tablespoons of coconut oil, or slightly more than 4.5 tablespoons of most fats and oils.
Are Low-Calorie Oils Better For You?
When it comes to determining the healthiness of an oil, the focus should be on its antioxidant compounds rather than its calorie content. Another important factor to consider is the ratio of healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats to the unhealthy trans and potentially unhealthy saturated fats present in the oil.
Certain oils, such as olive oil, offer additional health benefits thanks to their richness in antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols. Butter, for example, contains significant amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as fatty acids that help combat inflammation. Coconut oil can aid in improving cholesterol levels, fighting harmful bacteria, and boosting metabolism. Avocado oil is known for its high monounsaturated fat content and is a good source of vitamin E.
Mono and polyunsaturated fats benefit our health as they help lower cholesterol levels and may even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in certain foods. They are mostly a result of the hydrogenation process used to solidify oils for cooking purposes. Consuming trans fats can lower our good cholesterol levels and, as a result, increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are okay in small amounts but often contain cholesterol, which should be avoided on low-cholesterol diets.
Yes, all fats and oils have around nine calories per gram.
Usually, yes, as the foods are covered in batter. The flour adds to the calories of the food, and then the oil soaks into the batter, so you end up ingesting more than you would with other cooking methods.
Sauteing in oil will add more calories to the food than sauteing without oil. However, as you do not need a lot of fat to saute, it can be one of the lower-calorie cooking methods.
No, oil will not lose fat when heated. It is still high in energy and can add a lot of fat to a dish if too much is used. The cooking process will mainly remove water molecules rather than anything else.
It depends on the diet you are on. If you are on a diet where you must count calories, then yes, you should count cooking oil as it is very calorie-dense.