Which oil is best for cooking? Coconut oil, Butter, Lard, Olive Oil or Something Else?

Hi everyone,

Continuing on trend with providing some tables for your use, I thought I would put together some information around the different types of fats that often get discussed in regards to cooking, so that together we can finally determine which oil is best for cooking.

I selected to showcase the composition of the fat make up in the foods, as well as the omega 3, omega 6, cholesterol and  smoke points, which all seem topical and of relevance in peoples day to day lives when it comes to heart health, internal inflammation, and practical implications when cooking.

In summary, the main “positives” I am usually looking for are:

  1. Monounsaturated fat rich oils
  2. Not too high an omega 3 : omega 6 ratio
  3. For cooking – The appropriate smoke point

Obviously you can not always get the BEST in all categories in the one oil or fat, but you can look for ones that stack up well in one or two categories, and are not the worst in the final category. With this, you can usually make an educated selection on which fat to use whilst preparing a particular dish.

Also, it is a given that the flavour in a dish, and cooking/baking qualities of the fat will play a role too in your final selection. There are also non-nutritive benefits such as antioxidants, as well as different fat soluble vitamin profiles that would all vary and could take this to another level of assessment. However as per usual, for the sake of brevity, I have selected these few key criteria to hopefully assist you make a selection from a point somewhere in-between the macro and micro level of nutrition.

I have highlighted for you:

1. The fats with the best omega 3 : omega 6 ratio.

2. The fats that provide no omega 3’s, and for clarity do not have the best omega 3 : omega 6 ratio (given a lot of the current discussion around coconut based fats).

3.The fats that provide both a rich source of monounsaturated fats and simultaneously have a high smoke point.

As you will see, olive oil stacks up very well (as per usual) for cooking (with avocado oil not being a bad option too – I covered this in detail in a previous post), whilst flaxseed oil can be seen as a great option to use with confidence on cold dishes.

I hope this table proves useful for many of you,

For now,

TD x

Fats and Oils Nutrition Facts – Omega 3 : Omega 6 –  Smoke Point

Data sourced from www.nutrientdata.self.com with help from Felicity Curtin.

Food source Values per Fat, total Saturated fat Trans fat Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat Omega 3 Omega 6 Cholesterol Smoke point (f) Smoke point (c)
Lard 100g 100.0g 39.0g 0.0g 45.1mg 11.2g 100mg 119mg 95mg 370 182
Shortening 100g 100.0g 25.0g 13.0g 41.2g 28.1g 188mg 2621mg 50mg 360 182
Butter 100g 81.0g 51.0g 0.0g 21.0g 3.0g 315mg 2728mg 215mg 350 177
Margarine 100g 70.0g 14.0g 0.0g 33.5mg 20.2mg 207mg 1817mg 0mg 320 160
Coconut oil 100g 100.0g 86.0g 0.0g 5.8g 1.8g 0mg 1800mg 0mg 350 177
Coconut butter 100g 55.0g 48.0g 0.0g 1.0g 1.0g 0mg 1000mg 0mg 350 177
Avocado 100g 15.0g 2.0g 0.0g 9.8g 1.8g 110mg 1689mg 0mg
Avocado oil 100ml 90.0g 13.0g 0.0g 69.0g 8.0g 1086mg 17318mg 0mg 520 271
Peanut oil 100ml 100.0g 17.0g 0.0g 46.2g 32.0g 0.0mg 3200mg 0mg 440 227
Olive oil 100ml 100.0g 14.0g 0.0g 73.0g 10.5g 761mg 9763mg 0mg 468 242
Extra virgin olive oil 100ml 100.0g 14.0g 0.0g 73.0g 11.0g 760mg 9700mg 0mg 320 160
Rice bran oil 100ml 100.0g 20.0g 0.0g 39.3g 35.0g 1600mg 33402mg 0mg 350 177
Sesame oil 100ml 100.0g 14.0g 0.0g 39.7g 41.7g 300mg 41304mg 0mg 410 210
Canola oil 100ml 100.0g 7.0g 0.0g 63.3g 28.1g 9138mg 18645mg 0mg 225 107
Macadamia oil 100ml 76.0g 12.0g 0.0g 58.9 1.5g 206mg 1296mg 0mg 390 199
Flaxseed oil 100ml 107.0g 9.0g 0.0g 20.2g 66.0g 53305mg 12701mg 0mg 225 107
Safflower oil 100ml 100.0g 6.0g 0.0g 74.6g 14.3g 100mg 14350mg 0mg 225 107
Sunflower oil 100ml 100g 9.0g 0.0g 57.3g 29.0g 37mg 28925mg 0mg 225 107
Almond oil 100ml 100g 8.0g 0.0g 69.9g 17.4g 30mg 17401mg 0mg 420 216

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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