The Cooking Oil Comparison Chart

Cooking Oil Comparison Chart

You already know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good for you. But what do you choose when it’s time to branch out and try something new? There are a lot of cooking oils out there, and many have misleading health claims on the label. It can be a bit overwhelming when you walk down the oil aisle in the store.

Some oils are very healthful, others not so much — and for different reasons. How do you know what’s really important when choosing a cooking oil? And how do you keep track of them all?

Why, with The Cooking Oil Comparison Chart, of course!

I’ve teamed up with Andy Bellatti, MS, RD, to help answer these questions with this chart. (If you don’t already follow Andy, you’re missing out.)  We’ve created a one-page, printable PDF that you can take with you to the grocery story (or stick up on your fridge), that will help guide you through the labyrinth of oils.

We focused on two main factors, healthfulness and temperature-sensitivity, since some oils lose their health benefits when heated. Using a grid that makes it easy to see where each oil falls on the spectrum, you’ll be able to tell at a glance which oils to use for your salad, and which to use for your next stir-fry — and which oils to avoid altogether. We’ve also included some secondary details about each oil, along with some important pitfalls to watch out for.

Andy has written a post on his blog explaining the science behind our oil comparisons, so you’ll know why each oil is where it is on the chart.  So click on over to Andy’s post to get the nitty-gritty, and then come back here and get the PDF.

The Cooking Oil Comparison Chart
737kb PDF, Updated Feb 22, 2012

If you’d like to share this chart on your own website or blog, please be respectful (and law-abiding) and share it simply by linking directly to this post. Please do not link directly to the PDF or copy the entire chart to your own site.  You may use the image at the top of this post on your own page, if you like. Thanks!

PS – Huge thanks to Andy for jumping on board when I proposed this project to him. I had a ton of fun collaborating with him, and appreciate his enthusiasm and expertise!

You may also like my other printables:

A Guide to the My Plate Icon
How to Read the Nutrition Facts Panel (available on the Eating Rules Facebook Page)
The Healthy Breakfast Flowchart
The Smoothie Flowchart

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158 Comments on "The Cooking Oil Comparison Chart"

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Gretchen@HealthfulMama
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Gosh, this is so great! I’m printing and sharing as we speak! I might start shoving copies of it between cans of Crisco at the supermarket… 😉

Cathy Elton
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Love that this chart highlights the issue of Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, as it’s not that well-known. I mostly use olive and high-oleic safflower oils, and avocado or macadamia nut when I have lots of extra cash (ha). My cardiologist says many of the studies about cocounut oil are funded by the coconut industry, so I’m still wary of its saturated fat content. But I get that for most healthy people, it’s a great oil. Wondering why organic, expeller-pressed canola isn’t higher on the healthy scale here. Thanks for another amazing chart, Andrew!

Trey
Guest
Trey
4 years 3 months ago

Great chart. One question. I see that palm and palm kernel oil is at the bottom of the chart, and thus generally to be avoided. But I’ve read conflicting information in recent weeks regarding these oils. In particular, the paleo crowd (e.g., Mark Sisson, the authors of the Perfect Health Diet) assert that palm oil (and perhaps palm kernel oil) is healthy. Would love to hear your response on this. Thank you!

Jeanne @JollyTomato
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks for doing this, Andrew! Clearly it took a lot of work, but I love how it is all boiled down into a very easy-to-read format. This one’s getting pinned up on the refrigerator!

Sustainable Eats
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Hi Andrew, One thing I maybe missed was the effect that high heat levels have on oils. That’s important because from what I understand, taking an oil over the smoke point completely changes it and suddenly something that was healthy is now totally unhealthy. Did I miss that somewhere? So for frying you would NOT want to use avocado oil. I have to admit I’m a little confused by the diagram. I get cooking oils are on the far right but I saw avocado oil over there.

Anne M
Guest
Anne M
4 years 3 months ago

Glad lard is getting recognized, but think it is important to point out that it is important to render your own pork fat or buy only organic, preservative- antibotic- and hormone-free lard.

Teresa
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

This is amazing!!! Thank you! I will be sharing this on my facebook pages and my blog. You Rock!

Cassidy Stockton
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Fascinating! I had no idea there were so many oils to choose from. Def printing this out for my kitchen and sharing with the Bob’s Red Mill followers.

Kim
Guest
Kim
4 years 3 months ago

This is a step in the right direction, but it still perpetuates the myth that saturated fats are bad for you. There is a ton of scientific data out there refuting this. But if you want a short answer, think of this: what does your body choose as its form to store excess energy as? Hint: it’s most similar to LARD on the poster shown here! Do you think your body really chooses to store its energy in a form that would cause you heart disease if you were to burn it? That makes no sense whatsoever.

L. Gilbert
Guest
L. Gilbert
4 years 3 months ago

How come my margarine says no trans fat?

Sustainable Eats
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

I have found the chart on this post extremely valuable: http://www.gofrolic.org/gofrolic/food_blog/Entries/2008/12/28_Cooking_Oil_101.html
Some praise for saturated fats and recommendation to cook with ghee and coconut oil rather than olive oil: http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/sc/0602/sc0602-saturatedfats.html

And finally there is some amazing scientific evidence on this science blog: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/coronary-heart-disease-epidemic_19.html supporting the consumption of animal fats. If you are an evidence based person (I tend to do what makes sense to me and not sweat the details), that blog is the best place to start that I can think of. There is a ton of information on the Weston Price site but it’s not based on sound scientific footing like Stephen’s blog is.

Vijay Patel
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

This is a wonderful chart! Thank you, I will be sharing with my patients!

Maggie@SquarePennies
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Love the chart and the notes, but I can’t get it to print out for me. Is it because I’m on Firefox?

Maggie@SquarePennies
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Got it to print now using the print icon at the bottom of the chart. Thanks for this great chart. I’m linking to it from my blog.

KARYN BUSCH
Guest
KARYN BUSCH
4 years 3 months ago

iM wONDERING WHY OLIVE OIL NEEDS TO BE BAUGHT IN TIN CANS RATHER THAN IN GLASS. DOES IT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE LIGHT AND OVER TIME THE BREAKDOWN OF THE OIL? ALSO, WHAT ABOUT OLIVE OIL IN PLASTIC?

cancerclasses
Guest
4 years 3 months ago
Yes, omega-6 linoleic acid and omega-3 linolenic acid oxidize and become biologically dead with prolonged exposure to light, heat and air. From Ed & Patricia Kane PhD.’s Bodybio Bulletin article “4:1 Oil —The Right Stuff” by Edward Kane: http://goo.gl/wIBax “Seeds should be cold pressed under a blanket of nitrogen (nitrogen protects against oxygen damage), lower pressure equates to lower heat and less oil damage. Additionally, the use of dark or opaque bottles is necessary to protect the oils from light, since ***light is 1000 times more deleterious to the sensitive oils than exposure to air.*** They should also be kept cold (refrigerated) all along the process, much like the milk industry, immediately from the cow, to the homogenizing, bottling, trucking, and ?nally to the food store and into our homes to be stored in our refrigerators. We should treat our oils with affection; they are the beginning of life —… Read more »
cancerclasses
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Also see “The Scientific Calculation of the Optimum PEO Ratio, Parent Essential Oils: Omega-6/3, Defined” here: http://goo.gl/gyQLw

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