Fast2eat all-inclusive guide with the best and worst cooking oils for your health.
Confused about which cooking oil is the healthiest? Join the club.
You’ve probably heard a lot of back and forth about heart health, trans fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, PUFAs (Polyunsaturated fatty acids), MUFAs (Monounsaturated fatty acids) and smoke points when it comes to cooking oils. It can all be a bit confusing, so this article is here to clear it up.
Cooking Oils Recommended by Canada’s food guide
(high in Polyunsaturated fats)
Soybean oil has a neutral taste that blends well with lots of dishes. Soybean oil is often used for frying and for other high-heat methods of cooking. Hydrogenated forms, because they preserve texture and provide a rich mouthfeel, can have a long shelf life, and are a common ingredient in packaged snacks, frozen foods, and condiments like mayonnaise. This oil is also used extensively in the manufacturing of margarine.
In addition to healthy polyunsaturated fats and the Vitamin E of other oils, soybean also packs vitamin K, which is important for bone health. But be careful: this is often used in packaged goods with lots of trans fat (the worst kind).
Its versatility has made it popular but with high omega-6 content, even though it does contain omega-3 (ALA) you’d better choose something else.
Made from: Soybeans.
Best for: deep-frying, roasting, baking, and general cooking.
Not recommended for: Sautéing and salad dressings.
Pros: It’s cheap and widely available.
Cons: Just about everything else this oil one of the worst. It’s almost always refined, and it’s typically found in processed foods and snack items. Plus, it’s usually genetically modified, and new research shows it may be even more harmful than sugar.
Note: In general, there is a lot of controversy surrounding soy, especially when it comes to GMO (genetically modified organisms) sources. So, this particular oil may be best kept off the shopping list unless you are using a non-hydrogenated source clearly labelled as non-GMO.
Other uses: You may see soybean oil as an ingredient in skincare and haircare products; the antioxidants protect against free-radical damage related to sources like pollutants and the sun. Interestingly, it may also be used as an insect repellent.
Smoke point: 234°C (453°F)
The term “vegetable oil” is used to refer to any oil that comes from plant sources, and the healthfulness of a vegetable oil depends on its source and what it’s used for. This inexpensive oil is often a blend of several different oils such as canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm, cottonseed and sunflower oils in varying proportions. It’s called ‘vegetable’ so that the manufacturers can substitute whatever commodity oil they want without having to print a new label.
Widely used for deep frying, this oil is high in saturated fats and has very few health benefits. Still, vegetable oils are refined and processed, which means they not only lack flavour, but also nutrients. Vegetable oil is guaranteed to be highly processed. Vegetable oil is kind of a sister to canola oil. It’s also chemically processed, has a similarly high smoke point (400 to 450 degrees F), and is neutral flavour. Again, these characteristics make it a versatile, all-purpose cooking oil for sautéing, roasting, frying, and baking.
Although vegetable oil sounds nice and natural because it seems like it’s made of vegetables, about 99% of the time a bottle of vegetable oil is actually just soybean oil. While vegetable oil blends sometimes contain oils from seeds, like canola or safflower, they’re usually composed largely of soybean. Vegetable oil made from soybeans is a neutral-tasting oil that does not have much flavour.
While vegetable oil can be used as an umbrella term for all plant-based oils, as I mentioned earlier, that it can also be used by companies (on ingredient labels) as a generic term for trans fats, which are terrible for you. There’s nothing redeeming about trans fats. They definitely increase cholesterol levels and cause inflammation. And it’s not the healthiest oil ever since the chemical processing depletes the natural mineral content—and that’s why it has that high smoke point. They’re not necessarily bad for you but you can get so much more benefit from olive oil. Processed oils have been pushed past their heat tolerance and have become rancid in the processing. Some of these oils, especially palm, are associated with more degradation of land for production.
And I thought vegetable oils were healthy.
Fast2eat all-inclusive guide with the best and worst cooking oils for your health:
Cooking Oils Recommended by Canada’s food guide
But it says “These foods contain healthy fats: nuts; seeds and avocado”.
“Make a healthy choice – What you eat on a regular basis matters for your health.”
Canada’s food guide .