Nutrition

Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil: Which Is Healthier?

Most are familiar with the term “not all foods are created equal,” well in this case the same goes for oils. Olive and vegetable oils are often recommended for use instead of butter or animal fats that contain large amounts of saturated fats, which can clog one’s arteries. In addition to this many want to know which of the two provide the most benefits? Is olive oil the healthier of the choices or is vegetable oil?

All You Need to Know About Olive Oil

Olive oil is an oil that is liquid at room temperature and contains a majority of monosaturated fats, which contain less hydrogen molecules than saturated fats which can hinder health.

Olive Oil Benefits:

  • Low smoke point in cooking
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular death
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Contains less calories than vegetable oil
  • Its monosaturated fat content increases HDL “good cholesterol” levels
  • Important component of the highly regarded Mediterranean diet
  • Gives a flavorful taste to foods

Common Vegetable Oils

  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil

All You Need to Know About Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils are a blend of different cooking oils, including sunflower, corn, safflower, soy, etc. This oil is also liquid at room temperature and contains both monosaturated and polysaturated fats.

Vegetable oil is popular in cooking because of their bland taste and higher smoking points. In essence, its polyunsaturated components provide fatty acids that are vital and ones that we cannot personally make.

This all sounds wonderful but oftentimes many vegetable oils on come in form of a mixture and although they contain mono and polyunsaturated fats, they also contain saturated fats. They can decrease levels of LDL “bad cholesterol” but are higher in calories than olive oil. Lastly, due to the deodorizing process, they can contain as much as 5% traces of trans fat

The Takeaway

Although olive oil has a higher smoking point than vegetable oil and can provide certain benefits, when shopping for a healthier option olive oil will be the best option. Remember to use olive oil for dressings rather than cooking to prevent burning the oil. Choose extra virgin olive oil to add great favor and good fats to your diet!

Sources used:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4198773/

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/oils

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/04/13/ask-the-expert-concerns-about-canola-oil

Written by: Hillaris Pozo, Dietetic Intern, Lehman College

Reviewed by: Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN CDCES

Nazirber Maduro is a bilingual registered dietitian and nutritionist who believes that healthy and delicious food should be enjoyed at any stage in life. She helps people transform the way they eat and find joy in food through the practice of food and lifestyle medicine.

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