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Your Cooking Oil Is Making You Fat. Here's Why

Think twice before pouring oil on your next dish, no matter how 'healthy' it may claim to be!

Hate to break it to you sis, but if you’re trying to lose weight you’re just going to have to limit drizzling oil on your salad. Stick to freshly squeezed lemon, ground pepper and a dash of fresh herbs for flavor. But hey, you can add an extra handful of walnuts if you’d like.


Okay, before you give me a lecture on how extra virgin olive oil is so good for you according to the Bible of Ketogenic diet, let me spell some facts, based on real science as opposed to the already obsolete diet fad, Keto. A typical one-tablespoon serving of (any) oil contains between 120 and 180 calories, all of which come from FAT. Who stops at one tablespoon when cooking? Exactly.


The debate on cooking oil isn’t what kind is healthy but how much we actually pour on our food thinking it is good for us. 



Do you think Ketosis is magically gonna convert deep fried calories to muscles or burn them off as energy just because you did not eat rice? And this is why, if you’re trying to lose weight, it is best to minimize (better yet skip) cooking with oil and get good fat from WHOLE sources instead such as avocados, coconut, seeds and nuts!



We can actually sauté with water, (zero calories). Juana Yupangco of Mesa Ni Misis has this trick of sweating onions first with her “ginisa” when she water-sautés.  You can also substitute oil with low-sodium vegetable broth or vinegar. If you have an oven, just roast everything on the pan. There is also the option to steam and bake which are all healthier alternatives to frying.


If you must have SOME oil (I admit, I often do too), then here are some cult favorites to cook with sparingly.


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Coconut Oil

The big debate on this superfood is that it is 95% saturated fat, making it much denser than butter or lard. Multiple studies show that extra-virgin coconut oil has been proven to help with brain functions, is a liver aid and also lowers bad cholesterol which means, it’s good for the heart. Coconut oil is the God of healthy oils because its MCT's turn to Ketones which can be converted to energy while the Lauric acid in VCO kills bacteria.


The high smoke point of Coconut oil makes it ideal for sautéing and even frying, still we are hard-pressed to point out that all the healthy benefits of coconut oil is linked to its supplement like consumption; cold-press, no more than 1 tbsp a day, ideally on an empty stomach. The moment we subject this superfood to heat, and treat it as an add-on to recipes in generous amounts, is when we are confronted with the usual problems that comes with saturated fat ( which leads to clogging our arteries).



Avocado Oil

It doesn’t have the stellar medicinal benefits of Coconut oil but the fat extracted from the pulp of this Berry (Yes Avo is a fruit, specifically a Berry!) is 70% monounsaturated fat, which is rich in Omega vitamins. The best thing about Avocado oil is that it has a neutral flavour and has a high heat-point, which makes it perfect for cooking. 


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Olive Oil

It has the best ratio of healthy fat (monounsaturated) amongst its counterparts which means this Mediterranean staple has the most anti-oxidant if consumed in its purest form, Extra-virgin. The highest grade of olive oil should be cold-pressed, kept in an amber glass (is never cheap) and has a distinct peppery, sometimes grassy fruity flavor. It turns toxic when subjected to heat so it’s only advisable to drizzle on salad, pasta and roasted vegetables as a finisher or combined with vinaigrettes as a dipping sauce. 


The more refined forms such as Olive Oil, and Pomace are a blend of Extra-Virgin Olive oil (EVOO) and vegetables oil. These cooking oils are safe for high-heat cooking but no longer carry the benefits that extra-virgin olive oil is lauded for.



Grapeseed Oil

Is more neutral than Extra-Virgin Olive oil and is also less expensive so it is often used as an alternative to EVOO in restaurants. The oil from grapeseeds left over from wine making has a mostly Polyunsaturated fat which makes it a good all-purpose oil but will turn rancid on high heat.


Sesame Oil

Chinese cuisine wont be complete without a splash of sesame oil. This seed-based oil has a good balance of Mono and Poly unsaturated fat (40% each) making it a heart-friendly choice to top on wok-sautéed vegetables and tofu. Sesame oil has a high smoke point which makes it okay for frying and is less controversial than Peanut oil (GMO). It has a unique nutty aroma which adds a very asian note to any dish.



Sunflower Seed Oil

Popular for all things sear and sauté, this seed-extracted oil has the most amount of Polyunsaturated fat which makes it a healthy all-around low-heat cooking oil. 


Flax Oil

Has the perfect Omega 3-6 balance which means they’re a better source of good fatty acids than Fish oil. When expelled fresh and cold, Flax seeds retains a funky fishy aroma that works well as a finisher. 


Vegetable Oils (Canola, Soy, Palm)

Are highly processed GMO oils which are only popular because they are cheap but are a no-go for your health and even worse for the environment because of the unsustainable way they are farmed (deforestation). 


Weizel Gulfan is a Lifestyle Nutritionist who is accredited in Plant-based, Macrobiotics and Raw culinary nutrition from different international institutions. Follow her everyday wellness advise and recipes on Instagram @weizelgulfan