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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The best oil?

A few years back we were all told to cook with vegetable oil, then we switched to olive oil and now there is an entire range of oils to choose from including rice bran, avocado and macadamia oils all reported to have various health benefits. So, which oil should you use, when should you use it and most importantly, how much should you be having for good health long term?

If you model different diets, and are aiming to include just 40-60g of good fat in your diet a day, with equal amounts coming from saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats it becomes easy to choose the right oil. Generally speaking, if we eat avocado, nuts and olive oil already, we tend to get more than enough of the monounsaturated fat. We tend though to be a little low on the polys – and the polys have numerous benefits for the health of our cells. For this reason, only using olive oil means that unless you are eating walnuts every day, you are unlikely to be getting enough polyunsaturated fat. As you can see from the counter below, simply using sunflower, rice bran or canola oil occasionally will help to bump up your intake of these fats, and give you a better fat intake profile for your health long term.

Oil (per 20g serve) Sat Fat (g) Mono Fat (g) Poly fat (g)

Olive Oil 1.8 10 1.2

Canola Oil 0.9 8.2 4.1

Sunflower Oil 1.4 2.7 8.9

Peanut Oil 2.3 6.3 4.3

Rice Bran Oil 3.0 9.0 7.0

Avocado Oil 3.0 12 1.5