Which is the healthiest fat for cooking?

Olive oil being poured into a frying pan

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

Oils can change when they’re heated to high temperatures, affecting their taste and composition. The ‘smoke point’ of an oil is when fatty acids begin to break down. The higher the smoke point, the greater the stability.

It is true that saturated fats, such as lard, generally have higher smoke points. But eating too much saturated fat increases cholesterol levels, so it’s recommended that we switch to unsaturated fats.

All cooking fats add fat and calories to your diet.

Victoria Taylor

For cooking, choose refined oils (generally, any plant oil that isn’t described as ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ will be refined). These are more stable at high temperatures, and the lower cost and milder flavour mean they’re better for frying and roasting.

Oils with more monounsaturated fats, such as rapeseed and olive, are also less susceptible to heat. Rapeseed oil (often sold as generic vegetable oil) and inexpensive olive oil are therefore the best choices for cooking.

All cooking fats add fat and calories to your diet. Consider boiling, steaming or grilling instead, and measure out any oil you use.

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