Cooking oil. It’s the base of most of our meals, yet something we don’t speak about often.
A quick look down the cooking oil aisle in the supermarket provides a huge array of varieties to choose from. What’s the best one to choose?
The first one to knock off the list are spray oils. Honestly, if you’re cooking a meal for two, a teaspoon of fat (about 40 calories and 4g fat) is all you need. Saving 18 calories by switching to a 2 calorie spray is really not going to make much of a dent in your weight loss quest!
Some of the sprays are just one ingredient and I suppose one could argue that there is some benefit to reducing your intake by 18 calories if you’re desperate, but other sprays contain various ingredients which your body really isn’t going to be much of a fan of.
My vote for cooking oil goes to saturated fat. It’s a simple, high temperature withstanding fat. Goose fat, duck fat, meat drippings, avocado oil, butter and coconut oil are all good examples. I’m not suggesting you use gallons of these fats, but they are a better choice health-wise than the processed or complex fats one might feel obliged to choose. A teaspoon of duck fat goes a long way – and its full of minerals the meat lost during cooking.
There are a huge amount of health benefits to a good quality, well-looked-after, extra virgin olive oil; just keep it to have cold on your salads as it
doesn’t do well at high temperatures.
As for vegetable oils – sunflower, rapeseed, palm, groundnut and the like – these are best avoided. They have a high potential to turn rancid, they’re high in omega 6 which isn’t something most of us need to eat more of, and they are more and more being linked with obesity, heart and brain health issues. There has been some research linking vegetable oils to cancer too; products containing palm oil which are heated above 392 degrees during processing have been shown to contain potential carcinogens. If you must use these oils, use them very occasionally, very sparingly and don’t get them too hot.