BUT WHICH ONE???

T he  choices are plenty.. so which one should you choose?  There is Olive oil or as on of my favorite Food Network ladies says, “EVOO” – “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” – Rachel Ray.

We also have Sesame Oil and Coconut Oil. 

 I have heard so many things about why one of these is better than the others, why you should cook with some but not all, why cooking with one is really bad etc. The advice is endless, so instead of being another person to give you advice on this, I’d rather lay out what you should know about each of these delicious oils and then you can decide for yourself which to use.  I will also tell you which ones I use, maybe only one, maybe just two maybe all three.. maybe none? Who knows! Keep reading to find out.check out more “What the Health” 7 Conclusions Part #1

                        Lets Start with Olive Oil.

As shocking as this sounds, in 2015, the world consumed a record 3,295,911 tons of olive oil! OMG that’s a lot of EVOO! According to a really cool website called Olive Oil Times, the top three consumers of olive oil are 1) Italy 2) Spain 3) United States.  Looks like we’re not #1 in everything jaja! (jaja= Hispanic version of haha.. just a little side note)

 So in what foods is olive oil most used? Mediterranean meals!  I myself use olive a lot too.

Love the added taste, love the texture it gives a salad. But mostly, I love that it’s high in GOOD fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).  These are the two fats you want to see on a label of anything you consume.  It does have some BAD fat (saturated).  About 1.9g, but its very small compared to the amount found in another oil listed above, which I will talk about in a second.

A lot of people worry that heating oils such as olive oil to cook will increase another BAD type of fat  (Trans Fat).  A study was conducted and it turned out that the amount of trans fat produced after the heating process like in a ‘stir fry’ style, was so low it could be declared as 0 trans fat.  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if a food has less than .5g of trans fat it can be declared as 0 trans fat.  So that’s some good info there. 

But I’m sure you guys all know the benefits of olive oil.  They’ve been publicized for a long time, but I’ll write them in anyway. It lowers cholesterol, triglycerides (TAG or TGs), LDL (which is the BAD fat), weight, BMI, all while increasing HDL (GOOD fat). So, great properties overall!

Next, lets talk about coconut oil.  Why? Well, someone once told me that cooking with coconut oil was cancerous. So I decided to look into this myself and see what I could find.  I’ve never used coconut oil but its only because I love sesame and olive oil. Someone also asked me if coconut oil was better than the others.  Coconut oil actually has more saturated fat than the other two. It has around 13g of saturated fat.  Although promoted as a very healthy oil with cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association suggested that it should not be regarded as a better form of saturated fat. What does this mean? Too much coconut oil is as bad a eating other items with the same amount of saturated fat.

A systematic review (which is a combination of studies pooled together to give the results of a study more power) on coconut oil and cardiovascular disease concluded that coconut oil raises both HDL (GOOD) and LDL (BAD), but not as much as butter.  The study results were unable to support the claim that coconut oil is healthy and would have cardiovascular benefits. Although it does say that more research is needed.  Take away? It has more saturated fat (BAD) than the others, so consume more sparingly as you would any other item high in saturated fat.  Not enough is known yet, it’s a fairly new trend. I’ll keep looking for new info! Promise!

Lastly, sesame oil. Love this stuff! I put it in all my salads, and use olive oil only when I’ve run out of sesame oil! I don’t know why.  There’s a taste that I love and I can’t put my finger on it.  I also put a drizzle of in over my tofu, or quinoa. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

So whats in it?  Like olive oil it has monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats  (Shortened to MUFAs and PUFAs. I always laughed at this when I was in medical school. Somehow I remembered they were the good guys).  It has the same amount of saturated fat as olive oil too. 1.9g. Now, research has found that it has similar effects as olive oil with a little difference.  It has a stronger effect on cholesterol, TAGs and LDL than olive oil.  It also lowered weight and BMI while increasing HDL.  Note that it had a stronger effect than olive oil on a few things.

Can you cook with sesame oil? Someone told me you don’t. That it’s just a seasoning. I have never used it to cook, but not because I thought I couldn’t.  Since someone said don’t, I decided to look into that! I’m curious, what can I say!

One study found that cooking sesame oil increases sesamol, which is an anti-oxidant in sesame oil.  We know the benefits of anti-oxidants as being anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-plaque building in the arteries (anti-atherosclerosis).  Obviously all really good.  Is that all?

Another study found that patients with high blood pressure who consumed sesame oil lowered their blood pressure to normal levels (both top and bottom number aka systolic and diastolic). When the sesame oil was removed from their diets, their blood pressure rose again.  In people who take blood pressure meds like diuretics and beta-blockers, sesame oil lowered blood pressure.  Just another reason I love sesame oil then.

There you have it.  I use olive oil and sesame oil. I use sesame oil more than olive oil. I’ve never used coconut oil but there’s no reason for it. I’ve simply never bought it. Would love any feedback on your favorite oils! I’m considering doing an individual post for each type of oil to give more detailed info on them and their benefits. But only if I see that you guys really really want me to.

Have an good oil day! Ha!