May 8, 2021

Best and worst cooking oils

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oilsvinegarFrom Jack Galloway Fitness

Some oils are stable under heat (i.e. when you cook with them). This means that once all the cooking is done, the quality of the fat is left untouched, undamaged, and healthy in our bodies.

But other oils are not stable under heat, and we should never use them for cooking … like vegetable oil.

The higher an oil is in saturated fat, the more stable it will be during cooking.

The higher an oil is in polyunsaturated fat (i.e. omega 6’s and omega 3’s), the less stable it will be under cooking heat.

Vegetable oils (including rapeseed oil, canola oil, soy oil, sunflower oil) are very rich in omega 6 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which ‘goes bad’ easily, especially when exposed to heat.

When you cook with vegetable oil, the polyunsaturated oils mix with oxygen and become rancid, leading to an increase of oxidized cholesterol in your system.

This is bad news all over: for the heart; but also for cellular function around the body – and therefore every bodily function.

Everything that happens in the human body comes down to a cellular level.

So how well our bodies function at daily processes, including lypolytic (fat burning) processes and synthesizing new muscle mass, relies on the types of fat we eat and cook with.

Whenever I eat in restaurants, vegetable oils are the first thing I rule out.

Before ordering from a menu, it’s a good idea to ask what the food is cooked in. If they tell you vegetable oil, do one of two things:

ask them to cook it in butter / coconut oil / olive oil

if they can’t do that for whatever reason, do yourself a favour and order something else.

I will actually be swayed away from a food item (or towards another), in a restaurant, based on what oil the food is cooked in.

oils 1


Vegetable oils are extortionately high in omega 6 fatty acids.

Technically we do ‘need’ omega 6 fats. They are an ‘essential’ fat.

But health experts across the world are in agreement that in this day and age, our ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s have soared to a really unhealthy, inflammatory level (estimates from15:1 all the way to 50:1 compared with a more favourable ratio of 4:1 or 3:1).

It’s quite likely your omega 6 levels are too high, relative to omega 3s. So you don’t need to make a conscious decision to maintain your intake. You’d be better off moderately reducing your omega 6 intake, and moderately increasing your intake of omega 3s (from cold water fish and wild meats) in order to achieve a more optimal balance.

The problem with a high intake of omega 6 fats, alongside a low omega 3 intake, is that you are encouraging a pro-inflammatory state in your body:

Both Omega 3 and omega 6 fats are precursors to substances called prostaglandins – which control inflammation.

So you can angle your body into either a pro-inflammatory state or an anti-inflammatory state, depending on the types of fats you eat.

Omega 3’s are precursors to the anti-inflammatory pathway, which are prostaglandins of the 3-series (PGE3).

On the other hand an abundance of arachidonic acid (from omega 6 consumption) leads to an increase in the PGE2 and LTB4 pathways, which contribute greatly to the inflammatory process.

In simple English, omega 3’s reduce inflammation, whilst excessive omega 6’s can exacerbate it.




PMS – in women … hopefully not in men!


Increased pain (e.g. joints, muscles).

Neurotrasmitter imbalances.

Insulin resistance

Weight loss resistance and metabolic syndrome

Autoimmune diseases


They tend to contain high amounts of a toxin called HNE, and3-MCPD esters.

It’s worth mentioning here that many food products which contain vegetable oils in their processing, are high in the neurotoxin – acrylamide.

They tend to come from genetically engineered crops.

They go rancid and oxidize during cooking.


Wow. What a super food.

Unrefined (extra virgin) olive oil is rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Of note, here are a couple of reasons olive oil is the boss amongst its many counterparts:

It is very high in phenols – strong antioxidants.

It’s main type of fat is monounsaturated fat (which is known for optimizing healthy cholesterol levels), and low in the unstable and inflammatory polyunsaturated fats that you find in vegetable oils.

However … E.V. olive oil is probably not the best oil to be cooking with.

Although it is far more stable than inflammatory vegetable oils, its smoke point is not as high as saturated fat based oils, and its susceptibility to damage during cooking isn’t particularly high.

One reason for this is that olive oil contains ample amounts of chlorophyll, which further increases the rate at which it can oxidize and go rancid.

I personally wouldn’t cook with olive oil.

But if for some reason you have no access to coconut oil or ghee, and the only oils in your kitchen are olive oil and vegetable oil, your worries about cooking with olive oil are a pale shadow compared to cooking with vegetable oils.

Olive oil is excellent. But it’s very fragile when exposed to light and heat.

So I don’t want to start sounding like a food label here, but … Please store in a dry, cool [and dark] place.

A cupboard will do.


Here is our “go to” cooking oil! … without a doubt, the best oil to cook your food in

High in saturated fat? Yes. It’s actually pretty much ALL saturated fat.

But fear not. Coconut oil neither raises nor lowers cholesterol. It has a neutral effect.

There is no evidence of coconut oil having ever caused anyone any health problems.

In fact, it has the complete opposite effect:

Its high content of saturated fat actually works to your advantage when cooking, because it is so much less susceptible to damage from heat. Even when cooked, the quality of the fats will remain intact. This doesn’t happen with olive oil, and certainly doesn’t happen with vegetable oil.

Coconut oil is rich in MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). MCTs are pretty epic, to be honest. They aren’t absorbed like other fats, but instead pass into your system directly to be used for energy fairly quickly. So whilst other fats take hours at a time to digest, MCTs will give you immediate energy when needed, and what’s more – WITHOUT the negative effects associated with getting immediate energy from high GI carbohydrates or sugar.

Coconut oil is a potent antiviral and antibacterial, so a great addition to enhance your immune system. This is due to a type of MCT, high in coconut oil, called lauric acid. Lauric acid kills or at least disables many pathogens including H. pylori (associated with stomach ulcers and low hydrochloric acid), chlamydia, and candida – therefore keeping the gut healthy.


Butter is actually a fantastic food to cook with, as is ghee – which has a very high resistance to heat.

Both are brilliant cooking fats.

Ghee has a higher resistance to heat, seeing as it has had all of its milk solids removed, but feel free to cook your food in either.

Like coconut oil, butter is rich in lauric acid, therefore having an anti-pathogenic effect on the body.

It is rich in vitamins A, E, K and D – all of which are fundamental to health, and often lacking in our bodies (especially vitamin D).

It is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid): a fat which is known to have anti-cancer properties, and potentially contains properties that improve body composition – lose fat, gain muscle.

Both ghee and butter are rich in butyric acid, which is anti-viral in the same way lauric acid is. Butyric acid is also anti-carcinogenic.

The biggest takeaway here is that ghee and butter ARE high in saturated fat, they ARE NOT bad for the heart, they are fantastic for your health, and great to cook with.


–       A great time to have coconut oil is with breakfast and/or before a workout.

–       Fish oil is a fantastic supplement, which everyone should be taking.

–       If you have a poor immune system or digestive/gut issues, use coconut oil and ghee in your cooking.

–       Minimise vegetable oil intake from processed foods. And never cook food with them.

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