Top 10 Healthiest Cooking Oils Chart

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

All manufacturers claim their own cooking oil is the best! Canola oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, butter, and virgin coconut oil all have their supporters. I’m often asked to compare cooking oils. Every time I speak about nutrition in public, the question about the best cooking oil for home use is brought up. So, I decided to put them all on a chart, for easy comparison.

Most Home Cooking Oils Have Similar Calories

My answer is that all home cooking oils are about the same; they all provide about 120 calories per tablespoon. Unless you drink your cooking oil, or deep-fry every day, your choice of cooking oil doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s good that we pay attention to our oil. But the fact is, the major source of oil in our diets isn’t home cooking – it’s packaged foods and fast-food meals!

Good Cooking Oils – Ranked Based on Fatty Acid Profiles

Before we conclude which are the best cooking oils, let’s look at the essentials – Fats 101. We’ve been classifying fats into the good and the bad categories for years. They were classified based on their heart-smart values: their ability to raise or lower total and LDL cholesterol. The problem is, some fatty acids are neither – they don’t raise or lower cholesterol. Instead, their effect on cholesterol is neutral. In my book Go UnDiet, I discuss why some “bad” saturated fatty acids, like stearic acid, are not as bad as we thought. On the other hand, some “good” polyunsaturated fatty acids, like omega-6, are not as good as we might hope.

  • Good Fats: Omega-3, MUFA (omega-9)
  • Neutral Fats: Omega-6, stearic acid (a type of saturated fat)
  • Bad Fats: Trans (commercial-type), saturated except stearic acid
Top 10 cooking oils chart poster - Healthiest cooking oil ranked

Top 10 Healthiest Cooking Oils

Based on the above classification, the “ideal” cooking oil should contain the highest amount of the “good” fats (omega-3 and 9), and minimal saturated fats and trans fats. All of the following cooking oils are low in the “bad” fats as well.

  1. Hazelnut oil
  2. Olive oil
  3. Flaxseed oil
  4. Avocado oil
  5. Almond oil
  6. Canola oil
  7. Apricot oil
  8. Sunflower oil (mid-oleic only)
  9. Pistachio oil
  10. Peanut oil

If you’re concerned about GMO, it’s likely that corn, soy, and canola oils are genetically-modified.  There’re non-GMO, organic kinds of these oils available. So check the label.

Extra notes: Choose sunflower oil or canola oil if you wish to fry foods, as these oils have a higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with extra-virgin olive oil, as its smoke point is only about 190C/375F.

Tell Us: Which cooking oil(s) do you use at home?

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5 thoughts on “Top 10 Healthiest Cooking Oils Chart”

  1. No mention about the oxidization of these vegetable oils which are obviously bad for cooking, the fact that the source plant is good doesn’t mean cooking at high temps with its oil -some of them highly processed btw- is good.

    Reply
  2. Hi Gloria
    This is a very informative article and the colour chart for the oils is a very practical tool. Do I have your permission to share?

    Reply
  3. Recent studies show that excessive consumption of the Omega 6 fatty acid triggers the body to release pro inflammatory chemicals that cause many cardiovascular diseases.

    Reply

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