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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Duerr

A Guide to Cooking with Fats and Oils

Cooking with healthy oils and fats
Olive oil is great for marinades, dressing and roasting but not for saute or stirfry

Some fats and oils can be used when cooking over high temperatures, while some are better suited for use over low or no heat. The following guide lists preferred cooking oils, their smoke points, and their best uses. The smoke point of a fat or oil is the temperature at which the oil will burn and become damaged. Smoke points for a fat or oil can vary depending on the quality and variety of the source ingredients, and on whether the fat or oil has been refined. It’s important to not exceed a fat or oil’s smoke point when cooking.

Oil and Fats Smoke Point
Oil and Fat Smoke Points

What About Other Less Healthy Fats and Oils?

Most of the fats and oils listed below have high smoke points and seem safe for cooking, but these fats and oils undergo heavy processing. These processing methods counteract any potential health benefits. These fats and oils are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause chronic inflammation in the body. Because of this, regularly consuming fats and oils from this list is not recommended. If you do consume these fats and oils, be sure to choose brands that are certified organic and made from non-GMO crops.

  • Canola Oil (rapeseed oil)

  • Corn Oil

  • Cottonseed Oil

  • Grapeseed Oil

  • Safflower Oil

  • Soybean Oil

  • Sunflower Oil

  • Vegatable Shortening

What Do All of the Terms Associated with Oils All Mean?

There are many different ways to describe oils, and deciphering food labels with these different words can be confusing. Some common descriptors found on packaging include the following:

Fats and oils types
Fats and oils types

Tips for Buying and Storing Cooking Fats and Oils

Fats and oils can become damaged by contact with light, heat, air, or plastics. Many fats and oils sold in grocery stores are poorly packaged, which increases the risk that the fat will be damaged before you consume it. In order to maximize the health benefits of fats and oils, and help you make sure you’re consuming high-quality products, follow the list of tips below.

Healthy Oils buying and storage tips
Healthy Oils buying and storage tips

Credit: The Institute for Functional Medicine IFM

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