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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > May 2018 > THE GOOD OILS GUIDE

THE GOOD OILS GUIDE

A glance at the array of cooking oils on the supermarket shelves shows we’re spoiled for choice. Dietitian Juliette Kellow weighs up the nutritional benefits to help you choose the best – and leave behind the rest

THESE DAYS it’s no longer as simple as choosing between vegetable, sunflower or olive oil. Check out the cooking-oil aisle in the supermarket and, alongside the more familiar varieties, you’ll find the likes of coconut, almond, hazelnut, flaxseed, avocado and rice bran oils… The list goes on.

In terms of calories and total fat, there’s little difference between one type and the next. Just 1tbsp of any type of oil has 99 calories and 11g fat – that’s around 5% of the calories and 16% of the maximum amount of fat that’s recommended per day.

The real difference is in the types of fat an oil contains – different oils contain different proportions of saturates, monounsaturates and polyunsaturates. Oils are often defined therefore according to the type of fat that’s present in the highest amount. For example, olive oil is considered monounsaturated because it mostly contains this type of fat.

Good fats explained

With the exception of coconut and palm oils (see right), most vegetable oils are rich in unsaturated types of fats such as polyunsaturates and monounsaturates. These unsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, high levels of which are linked to poorer heart health. Monounsaturated fats go one step further. They help to maintain – or even boost – levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, the type that eliminates excess cholesterol from the body so it doesn’t have a chance to build up in the arteries, where it can cause them to stiffen and narrow – key factors that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Make bloating a thing of the past with our guide to the real (lesser known) causes - and how to beat them for a flatter tum. We also show you how to look good naked (or on the beach!) with the best methods for all-over toning. Find out how to eat to cut your risk of type 2 diabetes, with the five diets recommended by Diabetes UK and, if you or someone you know is a smoker, Dr Dawn Harper offers practical advice (and some surprising health stats) to help you quit. With over 30 recipes to help you cook light, it's all you need for a healthy start to summer!