Aisles Of Oils
PICKING A COOKING FAT USED TO BE EASY: YOU ONLY HAD VEGETABLE OIL AND OLIVE OIL. NOW THERE’S GRASS-FED BEEF TALLOW, ORGANIC DUCK FAT, AND ARTISANAL GHEE. HERE’S HOW TO SORT OUT THE BULL AND IMPROVE YOUR DIET.
DON’T FALL FOR FAKE
“Extra-virgin” olive oil undergoes minimal processing. But a report from UC Davis found that 73 percent of imported extra-virgin olive oils in the U. S. from top brands failed “extra-virgin” standards tests.
TURN OUT THE “LIGHT”
“‘Light’ does not mean better for you,” says Angel Planells, a Seattle-based dietician. The term indicates the oil has been further refined to remove flavour. Light olive oil tastes flavourless, similar to vegetable oil. Looking to save calories? Cut back on how much oil you use. All cooking fats contain about 100 to 130 calories per tablespoon. That’s usually about the amount you need for cooking.
DOWNSIZE YOUR JUG
Fats are sensitive to light, temperature, and time. A supersized tin or bottle of oil may be less expensive ounce for ounce, but taste and nutritional quality will likely degrade before you use it all, says Planells. Buy a two-month supply. For most families, that’s a 500ml bottle.
COCONUT IS NOT KING
Internet “experts” have touted this oil as a cure-all for health woes. There’s no conclusive evidence that coconut oil will help you lose weight, boost your energy levels, or reduce diabetes risk. That said, it’s delicious. But isn’t it full of saturated fat? Well . . .
DON’T FEAR FAT
A 2018 study by British scientists found that people experienced no significant changes in weight, BMI, or systolic or diastolic blood pressure whether they ate 50 grams (a little less than ¼ cup) of butter, olive oil, or coconut oil daily for four weeks. A separate 2018 study in India reported that people who typically consumed ghee (a clarified butter used in Indian cooking) had better cholesterol profiles than those who favoured mustard oil. So what’s the best cooking fat?
Each fat offers different nutrients, Planells says. For instance, olive oil is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, and sunflower oil is a good source of vitamin E. Match your fat’s flavour to your cooking. Use butter for omelettes, olive oil for Italian, duck fat for oven fries, ghee for curry, and a neutral oil such as canola or safflower oil for everything else.