Q. Olive oil contains the same calories as any other cooking oil. Besides its rich flavor, what makes it so special?
A. Yes, all oils contain 9 calories for each gram of fat. The difference between cooking oils is their ratio of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats compared to unhealthy trans and saturated fats. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats work to lower your cholesterol levels and may also decrease risk of type 2 diabetes. Saturated fat is known to increase cholesterol levels which can lead to heart disease. Trans fats can occur naturally in small amounts in some foods, but are mostly the result of hydrogenation, a process that makes the oil more solid, easier to cook with, and less likely to spoil However, trans fats can lower good cholesterol levels and therefore increase a person’s risk for heart disease as well.
Here are fat values in one tablespoon of common oils/fats we cook with:
Olive Oil: 1.86g saturated, 9.845g mono-, 1.421g polyunsaturated
Canola Oil: 1.124g saturated, 8.195 mono-, 4.076 polyunsaturated, 0.047g trans fat
Vegetable (Palm Kernel): 11.084g saturated, 1.550g mono-, 0.218g polyunsaturated
Butter: 7.294g saturated, 2.985g mono-, 0.432g, polyunsaturated, 0.465g trans fat, 31mg cholesterol
You can see the differences in the health benefits of using olive oil for cooking. Check out our recipes for incorporating olive oil into your cooking.