All cooking oils are almost 100% fat, but are some higher in fat than others? When you measure by tablespoon, yes. However, the difference in the fat level is almost negligible. For example, cashew oil has 15 grams of fat per tablespoon, butter has 14.2 grams, and many others have 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. With a difference of only one gram or less, is it really worth worrying about?
It’s Not Fat That Matters. It’s Quality.
Fats and oils can be categorized into four main types based on their chemical structure: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fat. A product’s predominant type of fat is usually on the label, although small percentages of other kinds may be present. You can check out the predominant fat in over 40 different fats and oils in our handy guide, though!
Polyunsaturated fats are essential fatty acids found in fish oil and play a crucial role in reducing LDL cholesterol levels and synthesizing hormones necessary for proper body functioning. Since the body cannot produce polyunsaturated fats, obtaining them from food sources is vital. They contribute to constructing cell membranes and facilitate blood clotting, promoting optimal bodily functions. However, getting polyunsaturated fats from food sources like fish rather than refined cooking oils is best.
Monounsaturated fats are beneficial dietary fats that can positively impact cholesterol levels. They help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and can reduce inflammation and cardiovascular diseases when replacing saturated fats in the diet. Foods such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds are rich sources of monounsaturated fats.
Saturated fats can be found in animal and vegetable products and are characterized by being “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Butter, lard, beef tallow, and coconut oil are examples of saturated fats. They are often regarded as “unhealthy” as they can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. However, they are quite nutritionally dense when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Trans fats are artificially created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, mimicking the texture of saturated fat. Margarine and shortening may contain trace amounts of trans fats. The processing methods used in creating trans fats make trans fatty acids, which can raise cholesterol levels and are considered unhealthy.
Is There a Connection Between Weight Loss and Cooking Oils?
Some oils have been studied for their role in weight loss, but more research is needed. Selecting oils high in antioxidants, such as extra virgin olive oil, is usually a good idea to help manage your health. When your body functions optimally, you feel better and are more inclined to exercise and make healthier choices.
Flaxseed oil shares numerous health advantages with actual flaxseeds, such as plant-based omega-3s and monounsaturated fats. In fact, flaxseed oil contains the highest levels of omega-3s compared to all other cooking oils, with more than 7 grams in a tablespoon, according to the USDA. However, flaxseed oil should not be used for cooking due to its high ALA content.
Research has shown that consuming flaxseed in various forms can increase satiety and reduce calorie intake. Additionally, studies have investigated the ability of whole flaxseed to improve glycemic control, which can contribute to healthy weight management by balancing insulin and blood sugar levels.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. A lot of the health benefits of olive oil go hand in hand with it being consumed widely in the Mediterranean diet, which is a healthy diet itself. If you are only drinking olive oil to lose weight and not addressing other factors that may be causing weight gain, then no. However, if you are consuming high amounts of saturated fat and switch to olive oil instead, it could help.
It depends on the oil. Some oils contain a lot of healthy components, and others do not. It also depends on the quantity. Having too much of anything can be bad for you.
All oils are high-fat oils, with all of them being almost 100% fat.
Because oil is a fat, and has been extracted so that it is 100% fat/oil and contains no protein or carbohydrate.