Which oil will kill you today?

Wanting to fry up some chips (fries for the Americans out there), I did a Google search on “which oil is healthy”, and immediately had at my fingertips the information that both canola and olive oils are rich in monounsaturated fats, which reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.

What?

I assume that this is a benefit of both oils mentioned thus making them a good choice for my chips tonight, but then things became somewhat unclear…

Eat Clean lists 14 (fourteen!) different oils, 5 of which quite confusingly all take “top spot”. They’ve also told me to think twice about coconut oil, despite ‘Healy Eats Real’ assuring me that not only does it taste good, it also has “wonderful health benefits”. Never mind twice, I’m beginning to wish I’d never thought about it at all.

And remember canola oil? Well, you can forget that – it gives you cancer.

As well as brandishing canola oil as a no-no, Authority Nutrition also explicitly tells us to avoid grapeseed and sesame oil despite WebMD touting them as two of their “three more oils to try”. To call the oil world a labyrinth would be an understatement – it feels more like being the ball in a game of Pong, batted back and forth from one piece of (mis)information to the other.

If you are looking for sound, researched advice, De Montfort University recommend that while your choice of oil is somewhat important, the key is not to overheat them, as this is primarily what causes health problems.

With the torrent of often conflicting information so easily at hand thanks to Google (and others), it can be very tempting to self-diagnose and find the answer that you want to hear. If seriously concerned, consult an expert nutritionist.

Besides all that, there is something about cooking chips in coconut oil that doesn’t sit quite right with me.

Image: [Jakub Kapusnak]

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Jamie Thompson

With a keen interest in world health, travel and writing, Jamie headed the creation of Expat Health Tips. Now living in Madrid, he grew up in Scotland, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guyana and the USA.