Healthiest Cooking Oil: An A-Z Guide to Dietary Fats


Either Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil Being Poured Onto a Spoon.For those seeking the healthiest cooking oil, this article will provide an A-Z guide to all dietary fats.

Also, the article will explore the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, and look at the merits of the most common options available on store shelves.

Foods higher in dietary fat are becoming popular as of late, and there is a world of choice at your feet when it comes to purchasing a cooking oil.

But there are several considerations you should make before choosing, like whether it is healthy or not, how natural (or processed) it is, and whether or not it is resistant to high-heat cooking and rancidification.

Difference Between Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

It is best to use saturated fats for cooking, as they have no double bond in the molecular structure.

The fat is saturated with hydrogen in between the carbon atoms, which makes the fat less prone to oxidative damage. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

The difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is quite simple to understand. Unlike saturated fat, an unsaturated fat is one that has at least one double bond in its structure and isn’t fully saturated with hydrogen.

Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in their structure. They are still relatively resistant to oxidation and tend to be high in beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols, further protecting them from damage. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond in their structure. They are the least resistant to oxidation out of all fats. Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature.

Trans Fats are artificial fats that are solid at room temperature. They are former vegetable oils that have had hydrogen atoms added to them in a hydrogenation process. The more saturated fat is with hydrogen atoms, the more shelf-stable it tends to be. But trans fats have devastating impacts on our health and should be avoided.

An A-Z Guide to the Healthiest Cooking Oil

Now, let’s look at the different fats we can buy in stores.

Which are good for us, and which should we avoid?

First, we’ll analyze the common options and then select the healthiest choice.

1Avocado Oil

Gaining popularity in recent times, avocado oil is a newcomer to the cooking oil scene. It is a liquid fat at room temperature, and it can be used as a salad dressing or for cooking.

Is Avocado Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Avocado oil is predominantly an unsaturated fat (1).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 11.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 70.5g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 13.5g

It is highest in monounsaturated fat and only contains a small amount of saturated and polyunsaturated fat.

The polyunsaturated fat is mainly omega-6.

Is Avocado Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Avocado oil is a natural fat – just make sure the bottle says ‘cold-pressed’ on the label.

Is Avocado Oil Safe for Cooking?

Avocado oil is safe for cooking, and studies have shown it to be relatively heat stable (2)

Anything else?

Avocado oil is extremely rich in vitamin E – a nutrient that many people are deficient in.

It is very expensive, so it may be better to opt for olive oil which has very similar properties.


Butter – it’s the second tastiest source of fat on this list. Who doesn’t love butter? Unfortunately, as a result of the demonization of saturated fats by the media and public health, many people gave it up and turned to butter’s fake friend: margarine.

Thankfully, butter is now enjoying a resurgence as a healthy cooking fat that adds lots of flavor.

Is Butter a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Butter is predominantly a saturated fat (3).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 51g

Monounsaturated Fat: 21g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g

Butter is very high in saturated fat, contains reasonable amounts of monounsaturated fat, and minimal polyunsaturated fat.

Is Butter Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Butter is one of the most natural fats you can buy. It is just churned cream from a cow.

Ideally, opt for grass-fed butter; it has a greater nutrient profile and a better omega 3-6 ratio.

Is Butter Safe for Cooking?

As a saturated fat, butter is one of the most heat-stable fats you can use for the kitchen. And it makes food taste delicious.

Anything else?

Butter is naturally rich in fat-soluble vitamins and contains several beneficial compounds, including CLA and vitamin K2.

Some butter from grain-fed cows may have a less optimal fatty acid ratio, fewer nutrients, and a higher likelihood of antibiotic use when raising the cow.

3Coconut Oil

Coconut is the poster boy for saturated fat’s renaissance.

Avoided for years, coconut oil is now a popular health food, and a favorite for diets such as keto and paleo.

Is Coconut Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Coconut oil is predominantly a saturated fat (4).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 87g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.8g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g

Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat, low in monounsaturated fat, and contains a minuscule amount of polyunsaturated fat.

Is Coconut Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Coconut oil comes in many shapes and forms. Be careful to check the label and look for “extra-virgin cold pressed.”

Industrially-refined and even hydrogenated coconut oils are also available.

Is Coconut Oil Safe for Cooking?

Heat stability is the main difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. Due to the extremely high amount of saturated fat in coconut oil, it is the perfect high-heat cooking fat.

As a result, choosing coconut oil minimizes the risk of oxidation, and it just might be the healthiest cooking oil.

Anything Else?

Coconut has been shown to have antibacterial effects in studies, and it also has many different uses, including as a natural sunscreen.

4Canola Oil

Canola, otherwise known as Rapeseed oil, has a healthy reputation amongst the public. But is it deserved?

Is Canola a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Canola is predominantly a monounsaturated fat (5).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 7g

Monounsaturated Fat: 63g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g

Canola is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and contains a reasonable amount of polyunsaturated fat.

Is Canola Natural or is it Highly Processed?

The main controversial point about Canola is the processing.

Despite having a good reputation with the general public, many with interest in natural health feel Canola isn’t so healthy.

The reason why is that the majority of Canola on store shelves is ultra-processed in a manufacturing process that makes use of hexane.

Is Canola Safe for Cooking?

Due to the higher amount of polyunsaturated fat contained in Canola, there are better options for cooking.

Anything Else?

There is no real reason to use Canola – the majority of it is ultra-processed, and it’s unsuitable for high-heat cooking.

Cold-pressed Canola does exist, but with safety concerns over it, there is no reason to choose it over olive oil: a monounsaturated fat source with a larger body of evidence behind it.

5Corn Oil

Corn oil is a vegetable oil that is very cheap to purchase and can be found in a variety of processed foods such as margarine.

Is Corn Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Corn oil is predominantly a polyunsaturated fat (6).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 13g

Monounsaturated Fat: 28g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 55g

Unlike the cooking fats so far, corn oil is extremely high in polyunsaturated fat. It has a moderate amount of monounsaturated fat and a little bit of saturated fat.

Is Corn Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Corn oil is an ultra-processed, chemically extracted vegetable oil.

Is Corn Oil Safe for Cooking?

Corn oil should not be considered for high heat cooking as it is highly susceptible to heat-induced oxidation.

Anything Else?

Yes – don’t use it. It’s not safe for cooking and contains an enormous amount of omega-6. Regular use of corn oil will severely impact your omega 3-6 ratio.

Far from being the healthiest cooking oil, this one may be the worst.

6Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oil is another cheap ultra-processed source of vegetable oil. It can be found in a wide range of processed foods.

Is Cottonseed Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Cottonseed oil is predominantly a polyunsaturated fat (6).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 26g

Monounsaturated Fat: 18g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 52g

Cottonseed, like other vegetable oils, is high in polyunsaturated fat – mainly omega-6. It contains a moderate amount of saturated and monounsaturated fat.

Is Cottonseed Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Cottonseed oil is far from natural. It is a by-product from cotton crops and is known to contain several harmful materials (7).

Is Corn Oil Safe for Cooking?

Cottonseed oil, like all vegetable oils, is extremely vulnerable to oxidation

Anything Else?

Avoid it. It contains damaging ingredients, enormous amounts of omega-6, and is not suitable for heating. One easy way to avoid cottonseed oil is not to eat processed food.

7Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil, otherwise known as Linseed, is produced from the flax plant.

It can either be produced naturally from cold-pressing or by solvent extraction.

shouldn’t mention this as a cooking oil, but after seeing recipes online, I thought it would be a good idea to include it as a warning (see below).

Is Flaxseed Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Flax oil is predominantly a polyunsaturated fat (8). However, unlike vegetable oils, this fat is mainly from omega-3 rather than omega-6.

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 18g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 68g

Out of this 68g polyunsaturated fat, 55g is omega-3.

Is Flaxseed Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

It depends on whether you purchase a cold-pressed oil or one that went through a solvent extraction process during manufacture.

Is Flaxseed Oil Safe for Cooking?

Definitely not. Never cook with this oil – it’s extremely high in omega-3, which is highly prone to oxidation.

Anything Else?

Flaxseed is okay as a salad dressing or for use in cold foods. However, I wouldn’t buy it. The documented effects of fish oil are much better than flaxseed (9).


If you read through everything so far, you’ll have noticed I called butter my second favorite cooking fat. Well, here’s my first – ghee.

Ghee is basically butter but a more concentrated form of dairy fat. Most of the moisture and milk solids have been removed.

Is Ghee a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Ghee, like it’s cousin butter, is predominantly saturated fat (10).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 51g

Monounsaturated Fat: 21g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g

Is Ghee Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Ghee is produced by gently heating butter to reduce the moisture, and skimming the milk solids out of the butter. It is a natural fat and has a lovely yellow color.

Is Ghee Safe for Cooking?

Yes – it is a highly saturated fat and is great for cooking.

Anything Else?

If you’ve never tried ghee, go and buy it right now. It tastes like butter, only better.

And if you like Indian food – it is an essential ingredient to make a traditional Indian curry.

Ghee is one of the healthiest fats out there.

9Grapeseed Oil

Similar to canola, grapeseed oil is another cooking oil that has a relatively healthy image with the public.

Is Grapeseed Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Grapeseed oil is an unsaturated fat, predominantly from polyunsaturated omega-6. (11).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 10g

Monounsaturated Fat: 16g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 70g

Is Grapeseed Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Just like with other vegetable (seed) oils, grapeseed oil is ultra-processed using solvent extraction.

There is nothing healthy about it.

Is Grapeseed Oil Safe for Cooking?

One word: no.

It contains a huge 70% polyunsaturated fat by weight, meaning heat-induced oxidation is likely because of how unstable it is. It’s not a good match for cooking.

Anything Else?

If you want a liquid oil, stick to olive oil or avocado oil rather than this junk.


Lard: another fat that was heavily attacked over the past few decades. And another fat that is coming back in fashion. Lard is clarified abdominal fat from a pig; it is solid at room temperature.

Is Lard a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Lard is not a saturated fat. A common misconception in the nutrition world is that animal fat is all saturated; sure, lard contains saturated fat, but the biggest source of fat is monounsaturated. (12).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 32g

Monounsaturated Fat: 41g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g

Is Lard Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Lard is a natural fat. It is clarified fat from a pig.

Is Lard Safe for Cooking?

Reasonably. It isn’t as heat stable as coconut oil and butter, but it is a much better choice than using highly unstable vegetable oils.

Anything Else?

Try cooking your veggies in lard – it makes them taste incredible, and provides the added benefit of increased absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in them. Lard stakes a claim for being the best cooking fat.

11Macadamia Oil

Macadamia oil is relatively uncommon, but can be found in specialist health stores. Unfortunately, the price tag will probably put you off.

Is Macadamia Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Macadamia oil is predominantly a monounsaturated fat.

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 13.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 73.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.7g

Is Macadamia Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Macadamia oil tends to be cold-pressed. It is a natural fat, easily extractable from the macadamia nut.

Is Macadamia Oil Safe for Cooking?

Again, monounsaturated fats are reasonably resistant to oxidation from heat. However, as previously stated saturated fats are best for high-heat cooking.

Anything Else?

I had a chance to try this, and it tastes great – it has a mild, creamy taste. Kind of like butter only not. A tasty salad and balsamic vinegar make for an excellent pairing with this oil.

It’s also worth remembering that macadamia oil has a near-perfect 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and 6; not many oils can say that.

On the downside, even if it were the healthiest cooking oil, it’s just too expensive compared to the other options.

12Olive Oil

Possibly the health king of oils, olive oil has the widest body of literature supporting its health benefits. Go for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) if you can; it’s fresher, tastier, and has more benefits on your health.

Is Olive Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Very similar to both avocado and macadamia oil, olive oil is another predominantly monounsaturated fat (13).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 14g

Monounsaturated Fat: 73g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g

Is Olive Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

It all depends on which one you buy.

‘Extra virgin olive oil’ is the designation you should look for; it is usually cold-pressed, and it’s full of health-protective compounds and polyphenols.

Refined olive oils are also available.

Is Olive Oil Safe for Cooking?

Extra-virgin olive oil is one of those rare foods that almost everyone espouses the benefits of. Many claim you should only use it for salads and that it oxidizes in heat.

But is that true, or is it just a popular belief that became accepted as fact?

I say the latter. Now, saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter are likely the best choice for high-heat cooking, but olive oil is no slouch when it comes to oxidative resistance.

Several studies examining this issue came to similar conclusions:

Heated at 180˚C for 36 hours, extra virgin olive oil only showed a minor breakdown of beneficial compounds and “preserved most of its nutritional properties” (14).

Olive oil’s resistance to oxidation was compared to vegetable oil high in vitamin E. Both oils were fried for an extended period; between 24 and 27 hours for the olive oils, and 15 hours for the vegetable oil.

The results showed that despite being high in vitamin E, the vegetable oil was highly vulnerable to oxidation. However, the olive oil had reduced levels of oxidation and more antioxidants still present. The authors concluded that olive oil is “clearly resistant to frying conditions” (15).

So if you are going to fry some food for 24 hours, maybe there will be a little oxidation. But twenty minutes of medium-heat cooking? I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

Anything Else?

Note that not all olive oil is made equal; there is a big difference between a quality bottle and a cheap commercial olive oil.

Here is a helpful buyers guide to olive oil.

If you have a genuine bottle of olive oil, then the vast amount of positive studies suggest it may be the healthiest cooking oil.

13Peanut Oil

Most people love salted peanuts and peanut butter – but what about peanut oil?

Is Peanut Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Peanut oil is predominantly a monounsaturated fat. (16).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 17g

Monounsaturated Fat: 46g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 32g

Is Peanut Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

It’s possible to get peanut oil that has been cold-pressed, but the majority of oils in stores tend to be refined oil.

Is Peanut Oil Safe for Cooking?

I had a look through all the research, and the studies are unclear. Several studies have been done to try and improve its resistance to oxidation with antioxidants, which puts me off using this for cooking.

Additionally, it’s relatively high in polyunsaturated fat, so I wouldn’t use this for cooking.

Anything Else?

Cold-pressed peanut oil seems OK for use in cold dishes.

14Red Palm Oil (and refined palm oil)

Palm oil comes in several varieties – but sustainability is an issue.

Is Red Palm Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Red palm oil is mainly saturated. But only just; the monounsaturated fat content is also high ().

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 49.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 37g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.3g

Is Palm Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

That depends on the variety of palm oil you buy. Red palm oil is the one you want if you’re looking for a natural, cold-pressed oil.

Refined palm is also available and lacks the red hue of the unrefined variety.

Red palm oil actually has a wealth of health benefits and is a great source of vitamins A, E, K, and CoQ10. Unfortunately, the refined variety loses much of these benefits during the refining stage.

Is Palm Oil Safe for Cooking?

Palm oil is predominantly made up of saturated and monounsaturated fat, bestowing a reasonable degree of resistance to high heat cooking. For red palm oil, various antioxidants contained in the oil also contribute to protecting against oxidation.

All palm oil is a better choice than refined omega-6 oils when it comes to cooking, but red palm oil is preferable due to its greater nutrient profile and the fact it is an unrefined oil.

Anything Else?

Sustainability is a big issue when it comes to palm oil. Over-harvesting of palm oil has had a huge impact on deforestation and animals living in the local habitat. Look for palm oil that is certified sustainable.

15Rice Bran Oil

Did you know you can also get oil from the bran of rice? You can!

Is Rice Bran Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Rice bran oil is an unsaturated fat – and it has a similar ratio of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fat. (17).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 20g

Monounsaturated Fat: 39g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 35g

Is Rice Bran Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

The vast majority of rice bran oil – certainly the bottles you’ll find in-store – are produced using solvent extraction methods.

Is Rice Bran Oil Safe for Cooking?

I would stay away from rice bran oil for cooking – it is high in polyunsaturated fat, and there are many better cooking oils available.

Anything Else?

Not the worst in the world, but it’s far from being the best cooking oil. I would avoid this one.

16Soybean Oil

The most commonly used oil in the United States, soybean oil is in just about everything.

Is Soybean Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

The primary fat in soybean oil is polyunsaturated fat. (18).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 15g

Monounsaturated Fat: 11g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 45g

Is Soybean Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

It is possible to find cold-pressed oil, but the vast majority of soybean oil is solvent extracted.

Is Soybean Oil Safe for Cooking?

As mentioned earlier, there is a difference between saturated and unsaturated fats when it comes to cooking. Soybean oil is a huge source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and is a terrible choice for cooking.

Anything Else?

Soybean oil is one of the unhealthiest cooking oils.

For one thing, it’s full of vast amounts of omega-6 which will skew your omega ratio, and it has a lot of negative studies behind it.

It is also claimed to be “more obesogenic and diabetogenic than fructose” (19)

17Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a standard cooking oil made from the seeds of a sunflower.

Is Sunflower Oil a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Sunflower oil is predominantly monounsaturated fat, but it is also high in polyunsaturated fat (20).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 13g

Monounsaturated Fat: 46g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 36g

Is Sunflower Oil Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Sunflower oil can either be cold-pressed or refined.

Is Sunflower Oil Safe for Cooking?

No – it is very high in polyunsaturated fat and susceptible to oxidation.

Anything Else?

There is a high-OLEIC version of sunflower oil available. If you can find it, this is much better than standard sunflower oil.

But it’s far from being the best cooking oil and it’s better to stick with olive oil.


Tallow is a rendered fat from cows.

Is Tallow a Saturated or Unsaturated Fat?

Tallow is predominantly a saturated fat. (21).

Fatty Acid Profile per 100g:

Saturated Fat: 50g

Monounsaturated Fat: 42g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g

Is Tallow Natural or is it Highly Processed?

Tallow is perfectly natural; it is just rendered fat from a cow.

Is Tallow Safe for Cooking?

Due to the large amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat that is in tallow, it is a wise option for high heat cooking.

Anything Else?

It makes literally anything taste yummy.

19Trans Fat

Trans fats are the most dangerous type of fats in our food supply and should be avoided.

Examples of trans fats are Crisco and other vegetable shortenings, margarine, and a variety of packaged foods.

Which is the Healthiest Cooking Oil?

As can be seen, there are many different dietary fats and there is a big difference between saturated and unsaturated fats.

While some unsaturated fats are very healthy, it’s best to choose saturated fat for high-heat cooking.

Out of all these dietary fats, I personally believe that coconut oil, lard, tallow, olive oil, and ghee are the best cooking oils.

If I can only pick one, then I’d say coconut oil is the healthiest cooking oil due to its unrivaled heat stability.

Fat plays an important function in the body, and it helps food taste great.

Enjoy it!

  • Lots of information. Thanks.. Recently bought package of lard planning on using it to replace Crisco. However when I read the label, I found it had been HYDROGENATED! Really disappointed.

  • I buy beef fat off cuts from the butcher and put them in my slow cooker overnight. I strain off the oil in the morning – great tallow for cooking or soap making, the scraps go to my friend’s dog. I don’t process the fat before putting it in the slow cooker, I can see small bits of meat but I find any bits not picked up by the sieving settle at the bottom of the oil and once the oil solidifies it’s easy to scrap them away.

    • That sounds great Hilary, and so much better than buying a bottle of vegetable oil. I guess it’s a lot tastier too!

      Sadly, most of the public still view veg oil as the healthier option…

  • Macadamia oil has a great 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and 6, but isn’t it so that the body cannot benefit so easy omega-3 from vegetables (compared to animal food like fish)? How from Macadamia oil?

    • Good question! It’s true that omega-3 from fish/animal foods is the most bioavailable, but we still get some benefits from eating plant forms of omega-3 too.

      Additionally, the omega-3 content of macadamia oil is quite low so we don’t really want the macadamia oil specifically for the omega-3. It’s just nice that it has a relatively balanced omega 3-6 ratio when compared to other oils.

  • A great summary, and thanks for the ratios, which is going to be very useful in one place! My favourite oil to cook with is avocado because, although I love good olive oil, avocado doesn’t change the taste of eggs or other foods….

    • Thanks Janice! Avocado oil is great, just a little expensive. It’s a great way to make a healthy mayo too.
      I know what you mean about olive oil – I think butter and lard are good as taste enhancers!

  • Thanks for this very comprehensive guide. I have been using only cold pressed virgin coconut oil and butter for frying and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in salads for a while now and it’s great to know that I’m on the right track. I take it that it’s better to look for organic coconut and olive oil too?

    • Hi Julia,

      That’s great that you’ve been using those oils. The main thing is to avoid the ultra-processed veg oils so you’re doing well. If the organic versions are affordable and easy to source then yes that would be a good way to go.

      But note that coconuts have a very hard shell and are are generally free of pesticides, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the organic coconut oil.

      Thanks for your comment and be well!

  • Hi Doc,

    Great article. As a matter of facts all your posting are very educational for lay-person. I buy 1 liter organic cold-pressed oil i brown bottle. I normally keep inside the fridge. What is the shelf life in the fridge?

  • I am trying to increase healthy oil in my diet and would like to use tallow and lard more often, but have always heard that chemicals and pesticides are concentrated in animal fat. I’m a bit wary of bacon for the same reason. Do you have any information on this?

    • Hi Pat,

      I can understand your wariness about this and what you heard does have some truth to it.

      However, this can be limited (or even removed) if you opt for grass-fed (and preferably organic) products – animals raised naturally on pasture eat a much more natural diet, get sick less, and have less exposure to chemicals and pesticides.

      I know it’s a little more expensive, but it’s much healthier. You can find it online easily, or you may be able to get it locally for a good price depending on where you live.

      It’s also important to remember the unfortunate fact that almost all food is exposed to pesticides these days. Consuming enough healthy fat will make your body stronger, and a healthy body can better deal with these toxins. In other words, grass-fed would be my first choice – but standard animal fats would be better than zero.

      If you need any more info, just let me know!

    • The refined version (chemically treated) is clear and probably best avoided.

      Cold-pressed hemp seed oil (a green ish color) would be much better.

      The oil is about 3:1 omega 6-3 and reasonably nutritious, so it’s better than most seed oils. However, if looking for omega-3s I’d rather just eat some fish. The other problem with all seed oils is that they can go rancid quite easily, so I generally prefer to avoid them.

      If you use this oil it should be for cold use, and never heat it!

    • A lot of sesame oil is processed at high heat and it’s very high in omega-6 fats.

      It does taste great though!

      I’d try find a cold-pressed one and only use it occasionally for flavoring rather than as a regular thing.

  • Thanks a lot Dr Michael,
    Very interesting info and informative.
    I just have some questions below;

    1- What about Safflower Oil?
    2- Extra virgin olive oil has the same fatty acid composition of olive oil mentioned above?
    3- I looked for EVOO in supermarkets, I found some words on it, like; cold-pressed, unrefined, unfiltered… What they mean? Is it the best if written on it cold-pressed, unrefined, and unfiltered EVOO?
    4- Have you ordered the list as no 1 is the best? means avocado is the best?
    5- Which one do you prefer for home frying? and which one for home cocking?
    6- Are the information above documented?

    Thanks a lot Dr

    • Hi Mustafa,

      About your points;

      1) Safflower oil is heavily processed and better to avoid in my view.
      2) EVOO uses the very same olives as olive oil, but it is mechanically pressed (or cold pressed). This means that unlike some cheaper olive oils, there is no harsh chemical processing.
      3) All EVOO is pretty much the same – writing those things on the label is just marketing really.
      4) The list is ordered in alphabetical order.
      5) For frying I prefer lard, coconut oil or butter. I like to use olive oil sometimes too.
      6) What do you mean by documented? If you mean can you trust it, then there is a little number (1) next to each point linking to either the nutrition data or a study.

      Hope this helps!

      ps. It is just Michael rather than Dr Michael 🙂

  • Hi Michael,
    Which one? Best of the best above healthiest oil for cooking, frying, salad dressing, dip, dressing dishes, eating. all in one or separately which one you prefer. Even if the oil expensive. Thanks

  • excellent article. I am vegetarian. my family members don”t like taste of coconut oil. which oil should be considered for cooking? is cold pressed safflower oil is good for cooking?

  • Thank you Michael. Avocado is not available in Indian market. its available online but, very costly. EVOO taste is a problem for me. Cold press safflower oil is available. where safflower oil stands compared to these oils?

    • Personally, I’d rather try to get used to the taste of coconut oil or EVOO rather than use safflower oil – it’s extremely high in omega-6 and very low in omega-3.
      Most people are consuming way too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, so this isn’t really ideal.

      You could also try refined coconut oil – obviously, cold-pressed is better than refined, but at least it doesn’t have too much omega-6 and it’s heat-stable for cooking. It also doesn’t have the coconutty taste that virgin/cold-pressed coconut oil does, so many people who don’t usually like the taste can use it.

      • Hi Michael,
        Thank you. I will consider your suggestion. In India most of the people are using refined sunflower oil for cooking and frying. is it bad for health?

        • Hi Shashidhar,

          I’m afraid so, it isn’t very heat stable and can oxidize very easily which can lead to inflammation in the body.

          If you use sunflower oil, the high OLEIC version is more stable. But again, I would recommend the previously mentioned oils for cooking.

    • Thanks, Sandra!

      Hemp oil? It’s highly unsaturated (very high in omega-3 and omega-6), which means it’s prone to oxidation. Also, there are different versions – some are refined, bleached and deodorized, but others are cold-pressed.

      I don’t see too much wrong with cold-pressed hemp oil, providing it’s not being used at high temperatures.

  • Thank you. Great article. I’ve cooked mostly with EVOO, butter, and canola and just made my first batch of ghee today. I try to stay away from processed food and had no idea how processed most oils are. Sad, a couple of weeks ago Dr. Oz had a big segment on the virtues of corn oil (sponsored by Mazola). A quick look at the literature and I could see that was not the case.

    • Thanks, Norm.

      EVOO and butter are great, and those two are what I mainly use.
      I find that the opinion of most celebrity doctors can easily change. Dr. Oz actually argued how bad corn (and other seed oils) are a few years ago, so if it was “sponsored” then that explains it all really.