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Side by Side Nutritional Comparison of Cooking Oils

Cooking-Oil Breakdown

Being a curious creature, I like to compare things. Recently, I decided to focus on cooking oil. I tend to use canola and olive oil when cooking, since they're healthy oils, but as I peruse the shelves of oils at the grocery store, there are so many more to choose from. For easy comparison, I created this breakdown. The oils are fairly similar calorie-wise, but take a look at the saturated fat content. This is the fat you want to limit in your diet, so that's why coconut and palm kernel oil should be used or consumed sparingly. Since some of you may prefer to cook or bake with butter or margarine, I included those at the bottom of the list, just for comparison. I also included oils that you wouldn't necessarily cook with but that you may find in a list of ingredients on prepackaged foods. See the breakdown below.

Here's the nutritional info for one tablespoon of oil.

Oil Calories Total Fat(g) Saturated Fat (g)
Almond oil 119 14 1
Avocado oil 124 14 1.6
Canola oil 120 14 1
Coconut oil 117 13.6 11.8
Corn oil 120 14 2
Cottonseed oil 119 14 3
Extra-virgin olive oil 120 14 2
Flaxseed oil 120 13.6 1.3
Grapeseed oil 120 13.6 1.3
Hemp seed oil 126 14 1.5
Macadamia nut oil 120 14 2
Olive oil 119 13.5 1.9
Palm oil 120 13.6 6.7
Palm kernel oil 116 14 11
Peanut oil 119 13.5 2.3
Safflower oil 120 13.6 0.8
Sesame oil 120 13.6 1.9
Soybean oil 120 13.6 2
Sunflower oil 120 13.6 1.8
Vegetable oil 124 14 .9
Walnut oil 120 14 1.5
Wheatgerm oil 120 13.6 2.6
Butter 102 11.5 7.3
Smart Balance Margarine 80 9 2.5
Image Source: Thinkstock
Maeghan2336454 Maeghan2336454 5 years
You should add a column that tells you how much good mono-saturated fat is in each oil as well.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
Personally, I prefer butter over margarine. Yes it is high in fat, but it's a natural substance and the body understands it. Margarines have artificial ingredients in it that the body can't break down. It's like sugar versus artificial sweeteners. The real thing is better, but just in small doses.
Cebca Cebca 8 years
Whats the deal with Smart Balance? It's a margarine, but I know most margarines have trans fats and are nasty, but a lot of healthy people swear by Smart Balance, so does it not have trans fats, and if not, what is it exactly and how is it made? it seems like it must be really processed/artificial . . ..
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I only use olive oil in my salad dressings. I very rarely cook with it, except to saute things. When I bake, I use canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Hey Fit, could you maybe add a comparison of how many grams of polyunsaturated/monounsaturated fats that are in these oils? I'd be curious to see those.
heartbreakerx62x heartbreakerx62x 8 years
Did you know that the longest living woman in history, who was from France, attributed her long life to olive oil! She claimed she ate it every day! Pretty amazing stuff!
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i have read that a person should only consume the kind of oil that grows in the region he was born in and lives. so olive oil is not that beneficial to you all and me as well. i stick with sunflower oil for this reason.
teacherturtle1 teacherturtle1 8 years
this breakdown is cool, but it is not complete.. do any of these contain omega3,6,9? do any of these contain antioxidants? saturated/monosaturated.. smoking points when cooking.. and of course flavor ;) but hey, i'm only going by the little i've learned after reading about some of these oils :)
michlny michlny 8 years
Olive oil is best when it's not heated - so it's best for salads, etc. but not great to cook with....
c-a-t-h c-a-t-h 8 years
What about Enova?
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I've read up a lot on coconut oil, and I think it's been given a bad name. Some interesting articles: "... much of the studies have been done on tropical populations where coconut products are a main part of the diet. One such study was done in the South Pacific islands of Pukapuka and Tokelau near New Zealand. The studies were started in the 1960s before either island was exposed to Western refined food. These populations ate only natural foods, and coconut foods were the most prevalent, being consumed at each meal in one form or another. While most people in western countries get 30-40 percent of their calories from fats, the people in these islands averaged between 50 and 60 percent of their calories from fat, most of that being saturated fat from coconuts. So what kind of health did these studies find among the populations in these two islands? Bruce Fife reports in his book: "The overall health of both groups was extremely good compared to Western standards. There were no signs of kidney disease or hypothyroidism that might influence fat levels. There was no hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol). All inhabitants were lean and healthy despite a very high saturated-fat diet. In fact, the populations as a whole had ideal weight-to-height ratios as compared to the Body Mass Index figures used by nutritionists. Digestive problems are rare. Constipation is uncommon. They average two or more bowel movements a day. Atherosclerosis, heart disease, colitis, colon cancer, hemorrhoids ulcers, diverticulosis, and appendicitis are conditions with which they are generally unfamiliar."
heyjen19 heyjen19 8 years
Hmmm...I always thought olive oil was so much better for you than vegetable oil, I can't remember why tho? I'm glad vegetable oil isn't that bad since I tend to bake with it a lot.
zoinks zoinks 8 years
I use olive oil and grapeseed oil for the most part, sometimes I will use vegetable in a pinch.
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