What's the Best Oil?

02 December, 2020
The best oil is not always olive or extra virgin. Temperature is also a determining factor in choosing the best oil.

Do you think that extra virgin is always the best oil to use? In that case, you should definitely read this article! The purest options aren’t always a good choice. You shouldn’t completely exclude the refined ones, and olive oil isn’t the only alternative.

The best oil for frying or sautéing

When selecting the best option to use at high temperatures (frying or sautéing) we should consider the smoke point (also called the burning point). However, we don’t need to take the properties of the oil into account, because they’ll be lost in cooking.

Let’s take a closer look.

The smoke point

The smoke point refers to the temperature at which the oil begins to produce smoke. This indicates that it’s begun to lose its properties and become toxic.

This temperature is unique tor each oil. As surprising as it may sound, refined oils actually withstand higher temperatures. Meanwhile, the purest oils become toxic at lower temperatures.

If we consider this criterion, then we can conclude that refined avocado oil is the most suitable oil for frying or sautéing food, as its smoke point is 272º C (521º F). However, despite its mild flavor, food fried with it will acquire a different taste from that which we’re used to.

Thus, despite the stability of refined avocado oil, if we take into account the balance between the smoking point, the flavor, the availability on the market, and the omega 6 content, then refined olive oil ( with a smoke point at 238º C – 460º F) and sunflower oil (with a smoke point at 232º C – 450º F) are the best options.

Avocado oil.

Another great article: Should You Use Aluminum Foil for Cooking?

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has become very fashionable lately and one of the reasons for this is its high smoke point (232º C – 450º F). However, its price, the difficulty in finding it – even more so in a refined format – and its characteristic taste all combine to make it a less suitable alternative.

Two other reasons why it has become popular are that it contains medium-chain triglycerides (easier to use as energy fuel) and its high content of lauric acid (which helps to prevent excess cholesterol inside the arteries). In my opinion, though, neither of those reasons outweigh the previously stated disadvantages for its consumption.

Consume it raw or cooked?

To select the best option to use at low temperatures (either from the bottle or cooked), we need to take into account its properties and its lipidic profile (the type of fatty acids). However, the smoking point will not be considered because, in all cases, it will be higher than the cooking temperature, even temperatures in a pressure cooker.

Why not take a look at this article: How To Reduce Cholesterol with Garlic: 3 Home Remedies

Extra virgin oils

In this case, the purest oils (extra virgin) are the most suitable because their properties remain intact. Refined oils have been subjected to treatments (using heat or solvents) that eliminate the substances responsible for their beneficial properties.

In this sense, both avocado and olive oil seem to be at the same level. Both are rich in antioxidants (substances that delay or prevent cell damage), have demonstrated benefits for the skin, and help to regulate the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

However, the lower presence of omega-6 in olive oil makes it the best option for consumption either raw or cooked. Omega 6 is a fatty acid that, though necessary, can be harmful to health in excess. This is because it’s considered to be an inflammatory agent. Currently, the western diet means that its consumption is excessive.

Olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is the best option for consumption at low temperatures. This is due to its antioxidant properties and its excellent lipid profile.

You need to be careful because Omega 6 also exists when avocado oil is heated. In this case, however, we recommend it over other options because the toxic effect of oil when it exceeds its smoking point is more harmful than its omega-6 content.

However, when talking about cold or cooked options we don’t have the problem of the toxins that are produced when we heat it. Therefore, as the antioxidants in olive and avocado oil are the same, we need to select them according to the lipid profile.

So, which one is the best?

According to what we have explained to you, we can come to three main conclusions:

  • The purest options are not always the best. In fact, for frying or sautéing you should opt for refined ones.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is the best option for eating raw or cooked.
  • Avocado oil is the healthiest option for consumption at high temperatures. Olive and sunflower oil can also be good alternatives.