Which Cooking Oil To Use

Out of all of the cooking oils on the supermarket shelf, which one is best for cooking curries?

As you can imagine, there’s no easy answer to this question.

But I’ll lay out a few points for you to ponder – remember that I’m not a doctor, dietician, nutrition expert or the like.

There are 4 basic types of oil – polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and trans fats – and, of these, saturated oils and trans fats are bad for you because they adversely affect your cholesterol levels.

So this leaves polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils to choose from.

But an oil isn’t totally polyunsaturated or monounsaturated or even saturated free. Oil is a mixture of all of the 4 types.

So all you have to go on is the percentage of the types of fat in the oils.

The following table shows the 5 oils with the least amount of bad fat, along with old favourites such as butter, ghee and lard.

Oil or Fat Saturated Fat Unsaturated Fat
Canola 6% 94%
Safflower 10% 90%
Sunflower 11% 89%
Grape Seed 12% 82%
Corn 13% 87%
Olive 14% 86%
Sesame 14% 86%
Soft margarine 20% 80%
Lard 41% 59%
Ghee 65% 35%
Butter 66% 34%
Hard margarine 80% 20%

The first thing to see from the above table is not to use the old favourite fats, no matter how good they taste.

We’ll drop the bad fats from the table and look at the split between the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated contents of the oils. Why does this matter? It matters because monounsaturated oil is better than polyunsaturated oil.

Oil or Fat Saturated Mono Unsaturated Poly Unsaturated
Canola 6% 62% 32%
Safflower 10% 13% 77%
Sunflower 11% 20% 69%
Grape Seed 12% 17% 71%
Corn 13% 25% 62%
Olive 14% 73% 11%
Sesame 14% 43% 43%

Going from the above table, it seems you need to decide between canola oil (which has only 6% of saturated fat) and olive oil (which has 73% of monounsaturated fat).

Personally, I use canola oil because, in my opinion, there is little to choose between the two oils and it is a lot cheaper than olive oil.

There is a lot of information on the Internet about cooking oils – probably more than you can handle.

Just make sure you enjoy cooking with whatever oil you choose to use.

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