Healthiest Cooking Oil for Weight Loss – Which Is The Best

First things first. 

3 questions… 

What ​​is the healthiest cooking oil for weight loss? 

What are the worst cooking oils? 

What kind of oil do you cook with? 

healthiest cooking oil for weight loss

If you have your finger on the pulse of various health trends, it’s probably changed over the years. 

We began with big jugs of canola oil decades ago. 


...research on the Mediterranean diet sees us stocking up on olive oil. 

Some years later, grapeseed oil hit the shelves. It’s healthier for your heart than olive, they say.

Meanwhile, coconut oil is gaining major traction. But it’s saturated fat, right? Isn’t that the worst? 

Today, we’re tackling one of the trickiest topics there is.

What ​is the healthiest cooking oil for weight loss? 

Which are the worst cooking oils?

Should we eat oils at all?  

​Stay with me and... 

Keep reading to find out. 

Why Is Choosing a Cooking Oil So Difficult?

cooking oil in bottles

The reason oils are so controversial and confusing is because they’re a fat.

Moreover, the kind and content of fat varies from oil to oil. Therefore, it’s all about determining which is healthiest for you.

Our relationship with fat isn’t simple.

No matter how much research emerges suggesting that it’s good for us, we’re still wary of it.

Despite knowing how necessary fat is, we know that not all fats are created equal.

After all, a stick of butter and a handful of almonds are not nutritionally similar.

Also, this is a topic that nearly everyone disagrees on.


Randomly pick any oil.

You’ll immediately find four articles slamming it, and an additional five lauding its amazing benefits.

I’m of the mind that all plant oils are fine in moderation.

During any given week, I’ll switch between coconut, avocado, and olive.

This is easy to do when you know exactly what you’re getting with each tablespoon.

Fat in Oils: The Breakdown

food fats and oil

MUFAs, PUFAs, trans fat, saturated fat - what does it all mean?

For starters, be aware that pretty much every oil contains various fats.

It’s all about what kind of fat is dominant in that particular oil.

Let’s take a closer look at the different fats we find. 

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    Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA).  MUFAs are found in a great deal of foods. From steak to pecans, it’s one of our major sources of dietary fat. Yes, even red meat contains some healthy fat. However, it has some less-healthy fats bundled in as well.  

    Across the board, MUFAs lurk in the healthiest cooking oil for weight loss.

    One study follows diabetics over the course of a year. In the end, it finds that these fats can have positive impacts on weight and heart health.  

    From a caloric standpoint, many oils are the same. On average, they contain about 9 calories per gram. Even so, MUFAs are thought to contribute to healthier cholesterol levels and a reduction in risk of heart disease. 

    This may mean that a diet rich in MUFA is better for weight and health than a low-to-no fat diet. 

    So, which oils are highest in MUFAs? Olive, avocado, and canola oils are good picks here. Peanut oil also gets nearly half of its fat content in the form of MUFAs. 

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    ​​Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFAs are typically considered as healthy as MUFAs. They might be equally as important for the heart. However, PUFAs have an edge. Omega fatty acids are types of PUFAs. 

    Our bodies don’t create omegas on their own, so dietary sources are essential. In particular, omega-3s are important for brain, heart, immune system, and joint health.  

    Omega-3 and omega-6 balance is crucial. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is heavy on omega 6, which increases inflammation. Since a PUFA oil can contain both, this makes picking one a little trickier.  

    For example, take grapeseed oil. It is by far the oil highest in PUFAs. Sunflower and vegetable oils are close behind. That said, grapeseed isn’t a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; it provides omegas 6 and 9. 

    To be clear, grapeseed isn’t unhealthy on its own. It’s just not the best choice within the context of the modern diet. It does have other good qualities, like a high vitamin E content.  

    PUFA oils which do provide omega-3 fatty acids include walnut and flaxseed oil.   

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    ​​Saturated fat. By far the most controversial, this kind of fat is a debate that’s been cropping up a lot. We know it best as an animal fat, one that is said to clog arteries and raise cholesterol.  

    Saturated fat is easy to identify because it becomes solid at cooler temps. Think of cold butter, bacon grease that cools in the pan, and yes - coconut oil. One popular cooking oil we regularly use that’s high in this fat is coconut oil.

    How could an oil so high in sat-fat be the healthiest cooking oil for weight loss? Lately, a lot of people have been questioning its popularity.  

    Much of this has to do with warnings from the American Heart Association.  
    Yet none of this negates studies which say the opposite. Time and time again, links between obesity, heart disease, and saturated fat look questionable at best.  

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    This kind of conflict is all too common. While I definitely wouldn’t suggest everyone load up on saturated fats, I must reiterate that it’s fine in moderation. 

    If you’re still on the fence, consider this. The sat-fats in coconut oil are majority comprised of MCTs, medium chain triglycerides. 

    A leading risk factor for heart disease is obesity. There is some evidence that MCTs can boost the metabolism and speed up weight loss.  

    Finally, there’s the cooking process itself. I use coconut oil for a baking or sautéing sometimes for this reason alone. The nutritional content of oils, including PUFAs, can degrade through oxidation when you turn up the heat.  

    This is less of a problem with saturated fats. 

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    Trans fat. Natural trans fats are present in animal products. The amounts here are typically not a cause for great concern. That is, as long as your diet includes much more than just meat and dairy.   

    However, we also make them by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. This is also known as a hydrogenated fat or oil. There’s no upside to industrial or artificial trans fats, and you should avoid them at all costs.  

    Trans fats cause inflammation, and are not heart healthy.  

    As it pertains to cooking, we don’t use a lot of trans fats. On the whole, manufacturers just use them in food processing.  

    Still, you should check the labels on any vegetable oil or shortening you buy to ensure it hasn’t been hydrogenated.  

    Also be aware that cooking can create more trans fats, particularly with vegetable and corn oils.  

The Healthiest Cooking Oils

So, what is the healthiest cooking oil?

Here’s a lineup of my fabulous five. What makes them the best?

Hint: It’s not all about fat.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Yes, we’re keeping the classic.

Extra virgin olive oil

Honestly, olive oil is a great choice when you don’t cook it at all. Instead, use it to make pesto, salad dressing, hummus, and more. 

It’s very rich in polyphenols and vitamin E, making it a great choice for reducing inflammation.

It’s also among your best choices for preventing heart disease.

When it comes to olive oil, choose a high-quality, extra virgin variety.

Additionally, see if your bottle comes from a single region - click for price.

Some are a blend of olive oils from all over the world.

2. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a prime source of oleic acid (omega-9).

avacado oil

Oleic acid is valuable for its role in heart health. It does contain omega-6, but this figure is very low next to grapeseed oil.

The reason I love to use avocado oil sometimes ​is because of this interesting study.

It indicates that it can boost the absorption of nutrients in other healthy foods we eat with it.

Specifically, it does so with carotenes, which we need for good skin, healthy eyes, and a strong immune system.

When choosing an avocado oil, look for one that uses Hass avocados - click for price.

3. Virgin Coconut Oil

Lauric acid is very difficult to find in nature, but it’s abundant in coconut oil.

virgin coconut oil

When we eat lauric acid, we transform it into monolaurin.

Monolaurin can kill pathogenic bacteria, which may be why people with digestive issues love coconut oil so much.

Besides, tropical populations have been thriving on coconut oil for centuries. It’s also a great substitute for shortening in baking.

However, be choosy about your coconut oil - click for price.

Fair trade is preferable due to its popularity, and it should be virgin and unrefined as well as cold pressed.

4. Walnut Oil

Walnut oil isn’t an incredibly popular cooking oil, but I hold out hope that that could change.

walnut oil

Especially when you consider how effective it may be at lowering cholesterol.

As we know, it’s among the best PUFAs for omega-3 balance.

That omega-3 content is why walnuts are traditionally known as being very good for your brain. They may also be beneficial for blood pressure.

I love the flavor of a first-pressing walnut oil, but it doesn’t stay as fresh as long as many other oils.

Therefore, it may be best to buy a smaller bottle - click for price and see how you like it first.

5. Macadamia Nut Oil

Macadamia nut oil is a MUFA that’s gaining in popularity. 

macadamia nut oil and macadamia nuts

It’s low in omega-6 and high in oleic acid. Many make the switch to macadamia for frying, since it has a high smoke point and is healthier than other frying oils.

Like other oils we love, it’s said to be beneficial to cholesterol levels, which bodes well for heart health.

Like other plant oils, it also has unique antioxidants which can fight inflammation and slow cell damage.

And did I mention it’s cholesterol-free, and tastes like butter?

Try some for yourself - click for price and prepare to be impressed.

The Worst Cooking Oils

Again, most plant oils are good in moderation.

Still, there are few nasties out there that sneak into our diets.

Here’s a quick rundown on oils to avoid.

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    ​​Anything hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  These are trans fats - the fat that we should never try to eat. That dollop of shortening or margarine is the wrong way to cook anything. 

    The good news is that trans fats are falling out of favor for those items.

    You still have to worry about coffee creamer, though.  

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    Cottonseed oil. Wait, isn’t cotton a plant? Yes... one that we expose to high quantities of pesticides. Additionally, we don’t really eat pure cottonseed oil. By and large, its use is industrial.  

    When you combine those pesticides with commercial manipulation, you have one seriously unhealthy oil.  

    It’s also worth noting that despite the use of cottonseed oil in food, cotton is not a food. 

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    ​​Palm oil. Palm oil is problematic for a few different reasons. Unlike its partner in saturated fat, coconut oil, this sat-fat’s effects are on par with trans fats. There are also widespread ethical concerns. 

    Unfortunately, manufacturers slip palm oil into our food all of the time. You’ll find it in everything from bakery items to shampoo. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Cooking Oils

Before we go...

...I want to address some of the language you might see on the label of your cooking oils.

These terms can help you assess the purity and quality of your oils. Because in the end, low-quality foods are the culprit. 


  • Virgin and extra virgin -  Generally, these terms promise that the product within is only one specific type of oil, and not a blend. Whether or not “extra virgin” is actually better than virgin is up for debate. 

    It also means that no chemicals were used to extract the oil. 

  • ​​Cold-pressed - When you expel oil from a plant, heat can really speed the process along. Although heat might be more effective in getting the oil out, it does damage the quality.  

    For instance, some oils that aren’t cold pressed are found to contain fewer antioxidants. When you see “cold pressed” on a bottle, it’s reassuring you that the plant and oil never met destructive temperatures. 

  • ​​Expeller-pressed - Like the term “virgin”, this label indicates that the oil was separated mechanically, using a great amount of pressure.  

    This is different from cold processing, since expelling can include the use of heat. 

  • Unrefined - Oils that don’t have an aroma, color, or flavor may be refined. This means that it got a bleach or a deodorizer treatment following extraction.

    Never buy refined oils!

​That’s all I got today. 

My finale word on...

​Healthiest Cooking Oil for Weight Loss

I’m not sure fat will ever get the credit it deserves.

Despite the fact that there’s no better macro for heart and brain health, we’re still wary.

To be fair, that’s because food manufacturers abuse fats, modifying them into heart-congesting, cell-oxidizing monsters.

But there’s no reason for you to shy away from a pure plant oil for cooking.

Just try not to exceed a few tablespoons a day.

Some of the best cooking oils include:

  • Olive oil 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Walnut oil 
  • Avocado oil 
  • Macadamia oil 

And for best results, always be mindful of the source of your oils, as well as the smoke point.

What do you think is the healthiest cooking oil for weight loss?

Do you believe that coconut oil’s fat is different from other saturated fats?

Tell me why or why not below! And we will talk soon.

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